Edu Minister: Land issues among reasons for delay in upgrading dilapidated schools in Sarawak

File photo of Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin.

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Oct 26: Land issues are part of the constraints which have stalled the project to upgrade dilapidated schools in Sarawak, says Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin.

The minister said he had pushed for ‘land whitening’ or legalisation of land ever since he took office.


“This is because if the land does not belong to the Federal Lands Commissioner (PTP), then no building can be built on the land. Hence, it will delay the construction of new buildings.

“That is why we are looking into the most basic thing which is to solve land issues first. In the future, when this land issue is resolved, the process will be faster and more orderly,” he told reporters during his visit to SMK Bandar Samariang in Petra Jaya, Kuching today.

Dr Radzi was in Kuching for a 4-day working visit since Friday (Oct 22) to 18 schools in five parliamentary constituencies to monitor and identify room for improvement in the schools.

He had also paid a courtesy visit to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg where he disclosed one of the education matters they discussed was the land issues in building or upgrading schools.

At the same time, Dr Radzi said the project to upgrade dilapidated schools in Sarawak will go on, with priority being given to schools in bad condition.

“We have previously stipulated that the school building defined as ‘Level 7’ where the Public Works Department (PWD) has seen the condition of the building and confirmed the building is unsafe, will be given priority.

“Upon completion of upgrading the Level 7 buildings, we will look at buildings of Level 6, which the State Education Department has identified as unsafe. So we follow the priority from buildings of Level 7, then we go down to Level 6, and so on.

“However, this matter is very dynamic because a certain building today may not be a dilapidated building but due to certain reasons such as floods, location or soil movement, the building is then included in the list of dilapidated schools. That is why our data on dilapidated schools is not static, it changes from time to time,” he explained.

For the record, the determination of redevelopment or upgrading of dilapidated schools are based on an impact score grade analysis which has seven levels on the scale.

Level 1 to 4 refers to buildings that are still functioning and safe to use, while level 5 refers to buildings that have been reported by schools as unsafe and require maintenance.

Level 6 refers to buildings that are not safe with validation from District Education Office or the State Education Departments while Level 7 refers to buildings that are not safe with validation from the PWD. — DayakDaily