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By William Isau
SIBU, Jan 5: The repair and rebuilding of schools in Sarawak could be expedited now with Sarawak and Sabah granted full autonomy for development of projects under RM50 million.
Lauding Putrajaya’s decision, Deputy Minister for Education and Innovation Datuk Dr Annuar Rapaee said this will definitely cut down on bureaucracy and speed up the projects needed to be implemented in Sarawak, especially in the State’s efforts to deal with poor and dilapidated schools.
“I see this decision as a very positive decision, especially in our efforts to speed up the repair of poor schools in Sarawak.
“Previously, Sarawak has had to refer to Putrajaya for approval of projects below RM50 million. Many decisions had to be finalised in Putrajaya and that will take time,” he said today.
Given that design specification of a school in Sarawak may differ from that of Peninsula Malaysia and coupled with logistic challenges, Dr Annuar stressed that the cost to repair and rebuild schools in Sarawak range between RM20 million and RM30 million.
“For example IBS (Industrialised Building System) may be used in the Peninsula Malaysia as a whole but in Sarawak it may not be possible due to the distance being too far from the city which lacks transportation.
“So with the amount of RM50 million, I am sure that the project to repair poor schools in Sarawak will be able to be accelerated with the government’s policy or decision today,” he added.
In a press conference after chairing the Cabinet meeting yesterday (Jan 4), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced that Sarawak and Sabah would no longer need to go through the Federal government for projects costing below RM50 million.
He noted that many projects cannot be fulfilled in both Sarawak and Sabah effectively despite the presence of the Public Works Department (JKR) in both the Borneo States and huge funds allocated due to bureaucracy and the need to refer to the central government for decisions.
“Last year, I had stated that I wanted to expedite the matters related to MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963) which had been delayed. I entrusted Deputy Prime Minister Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions) Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali to work on this and honour the spirit of the agreement which has been disputed for a long time,” Anwar added.
The delegation of power to technical agencies like Public Works Department (JKR) and Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) in Sarawak and Sabah was one of the demands enshrined under MA63. — DayakDaily