Dr Annuar corrects misconceptions about dilapidated schools’ issues in Sarawak

Dr Annuar (centre) speaking at the press conference in the presence of Lambir assemblyman Ripin Lamat (left) and Sadong Jaya assemblyman Aidel Lariwoo on the sidelines of the State Legislative Assembly sitting.

By Peter Sibon & Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 3: The Sarawak government today insisted that the federal government is responsible for repairing all dilapidated schools in the state, as education is under its purview.

According to Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee, roughly RM3 billion-RM4 billion is needed to repair these dilapidated schools, which numbered about 70 per cent of schools in the state.

“They fall under various classifications: Class 1, Class 2 an Class 3. Roughly, we need about RM3 billion to RM4 billion to repair these schools,” he told a press conference on the sidelines of the State Legislative Assembly sitting, here, today.

On a related issue, Dr Annuar refuted accusations that the Sarawak government would spend at their ‘whims and fancies’ the RM1 billion fund if it was parked with the state government.

He said it had been agreed that three committees would be formed, comprising the Finance Ministry, Education Ministry and the state government to decide this matter.

“Moreover, the state government has no final say on the matter as we only submit the list of schools that required urgent attention, and it is the Ministry of Education (MoE) that has the final say,” he pointed out.

Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar also stressed that although the federal government had made a U-turn on its decision for the contra loan payment, there was no deadlock as negotiations would continue to be held.

He also hit back at criticisms over what the previous government had done for the past 55 years for educational development in the state.

“Who were the ministers of education for the past 55 years? Three of them are now in Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. One is the in-waiting prime minister (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim), one now is the prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) and one is the president of a component party of PH (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin).

“Three of them monopolised the ministry of education for 55 years. Only one time a Sarawakian is the minister of education and yet at that particular time, he was able to build Unimas, the fourth public university and a medical school for the state of Sarawak,” he said.

He reminded critics to learn the history properly or else they would just be accusing their boss (Dr Mahathir).

Meanwhile, Dr Annuar revealed that the Sarawak government had injected RM123 million to address problems facing 155 dilapidated, so far.

Noting that dilapidated schools’ issues had attracted a lot of concerns from various parties, he emphasised that the state government was committed and very serious in resolving them.

“Education is, in fact, under the federal list but because it is so important to the people of Sarawak, the state government has stepped in and done a lot to address this problem,” he told Paulus Palu Gumbang (GPS-Batu Danau) during the question-and-answer session.

Dr Annuar also revealed that there were two new relocation and rebuilding of schools projects involving SK Ulu Segan, Bintulu, costing RM29.49 million, and SK Maludam, Betong, at RM35.76 million.

“The total for these two projects are about RM65.25 million, and it is the state government’s money, not the federal government’s,” he reminded.

Through the Rural Transformation Initiative (RTI) 2018-2020, he informed there would be projects involving 63 schools at a cost of RM21 million of state funds.

“Under the Chief Minister Special Development Allocation Fund (SDAF), it is estimated that RM37 million (have been allocated) involving 90 schools,” he added.

In comparison, he said the federal government only allocated RM100 million for dilapidated schools in the state this year, while the state government set aside RM123 million, excluding the RM50 million that had been approved for electricity supply. — DayakDaily