Fix dilapidated schools or return RM700mln in loan repayment to Sarawak

Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

KUCHING, Feb 19: Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar holds the view that if the federal government was incapable of fixing rundown schools in Sarawak, then it should let the Sarawak government take over the job.

For that to happen, he believed that the federal government should return the RM700 million which the Sarawak government had paid.

“If the federal government is not able to implement the projects (repair of dilapidated schools), please by all means return the RM700 million to the state of Sarawak.

“Let Sarawak government repair the dilapidated schools in Sarawak,” said Wan Junaidi in a press statement today.

He said it was outrageous and unbecoming of the federal government to renege on its promise, and also make lightly of its constitutional obligation.

“The arrangement itself is historical, the state government has given money for the federal government to fulfil its constitutional and moral obligation to the state.

“I hope the federal government has a good explanation to all these or its image is going to be tarnished,” said Wan Junaidi.

He expressed shock, disappointment and anger at the news that the federal government had reneged on its promise to repair the dilapidated schools in Sarawak after getting an advanced repayment of RM700 million for the RM1 billion loan which Sarawak owes to the federal government.

“I thought that the repair or rebuilding was ongoing,” said Wan Junaidi.

Maintaining a conducive environment for students is the duty of the federal government.

As of 2019, however, a total of 1,020 schools across Sarawak are classified as rundown schools with 415 of them needing immediate repair. Most of these schools are in rural areas.

As school repair is the duty of the federal government, the Sarawak government requested for urgent repair to be carried out for the safety of the students.

The federal government however, claimed that it did not have the financial means to do so. For the sake of the rural students, the Sarawak government decided to make repayment of a RM1 billion loan which Sarawak owes to the federal government, so that the money could be used expedite school repair projects.

So far Sarawak government had made two repayments. Last year, RM350 million was made and this year, another RM350 million was paid on Feb 7 to the federal government.

However, yesterday at the state-level ‘Kolokium Keagungan Al-Quran’ held at Sarawak Islamic Complex, Chief Minister Abang Johari said despite the RM700 million loan repayment by the Sarawak government to the federal government, until now, not even one rundown school is repaired. —DayakDailiy