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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Dec 8: Since the Sarawak government is willing to lend its federal counterpart RM1 billion to repair and rebuild dilapidated schools, state Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen reasoned that the state government should just directly fix these schools.
Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, opined that it was “just a lame excuse” for the state government to argue that education is a federal matter.
“I do not see the logic of this proposal (RM1 billion loan) in the sense that if the state government has money to lend to the federal government to upgrade the schools in Sarawak, why don’t you do it straight forward?” he told a press conference here today.
He said if the state government was able to fund the rebuilding of SK Ulu Segan in Bintulu and SK Maludam in Betong for about RM40 million each, the state government should pump in more money to upgrade other dilapidated schools.
Chong was responding to the statement made by Minister for Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong two days ago. Manyin said then that Putrajaya had yet to respond to the dilapidated school fund and RM1 billion loan offer.
Chong said such a matter was not as simple as just accepting the loan because proper budgeting needed to be carried out.
“I think for proper budgeting, it’s not that anyone wants to lend you money you must take up the loan. I think most of us have experienced it before where banks call you up to offer you loans. We have to look at our financial situation before we take up loans. For budgeting for the nation, I think that is exactly the same.
“It’s not like anyone wants to give you a loan, you can just take. Maybe previously (former Prime Minister) Najib will do that. Anybody lending money, he would just grab it,” he said.
Chong said Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was just trying to politicise educational issues to create the perception that the PH government was marginalising the state. — DayakDaily