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By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Nov 5: Sarawak proposed today RM81.7 million from its own funds to facilitate the development of schools in the state.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the amount would be used to rebuild, repair and upgrade dilapidated schools, including providing water and electricity supplies.
There are a total of 1,020 dilapidated schools across the state, of which 415 are considered critically dilapidated.
When tabling State Budget 2019, Abang Johari emphasised education was a subject under the purview and responsibility of the federal government as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
He highlighted that the previous federal government had in its 2018 Budget approved a RM1 billion special allocation for the repair and upgrading of the dilapidated schools; hence, the new federal government ought to fulfil this obligation by providing the approved funding.
“Unfortunately, the Federal Budget 2019 did not indicate any allocation for dilapidated schools in Sarawak. It is disheartening to see our children have long been suffering from such poor quality conditions and are forced to study in such an inferior learning environment.
“In fact, that amount is hardly sufficient. We need much more than RM1 billion to repair, replace and rebuild all the critically dilapidated schools in the state. However, the current state of schools, particularly those in the rural areas require immediate attention, so we had to step in,” he said. — DayakDaily