Get your facts straight, Foo says to Chong in latest development on dilapidated school repairs

Milton Foo

KUCHING, Feb 21: SUPP Youth Central Secretary-General Milton Foo has told PH Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen to get his facts right before making a mockery of the delays in the repair of dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

This follows after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng confirmed yesterday (Feb 20) that the tender for development of 16 dilapidated schools in Sarawak had been postponed to enable the Education Ministry and the Public Works Department (PWD) Sarawak to review the scope and cost of the project.

Foo thus urged Chong to clarify about the matter as it was contradictory to the statement he issued days ago.

“It’s either you (Chong) don’t know the facts, or glaringly employ the tactics of diversion with an intent to confuse, if not mislead the people of Sarawak,” he alleged in a statement today.

If what Lim said was the truth, Foo said Chong owed an apology to all Sarawakians by giving false or untrue facts even if the mistake made was a genuine one.

“But if you do not want to tender your apology but insist what you said stands correct, then you should demand an apology from your party central secretary-general Lim Guan Eng for giving false information as the Finance Minister.

“Be a man and don’t evade responsibility as the safety of the students in the dilapidated schools in Sarawak is at stake,” he added.

Meanwhile, the dilapidated school issue was raised after Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari on Feb 18 who claimed that not a single school had been repaired although a total of RM700 million repayment had been made to settle the RM1 billion loan which the Sarawak government owes the federal government.

Chong then stated that after a check with PWD Sarawak which reported that the repair works for two of 37 dilapidated schools had been awarded tender on Jan 14, 2020 where work had begun and the projects are expected to be completed by July 2021.

He also criticised Abang Johari for not seeking verification with PWD Sarawak before making a baseless and sweeping statement against the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government.

Lim had yesterday explained that the tender for the 16 dilapidated school projects was expected to be implemented in March 2020.

The 16 schools are part of the 37 earmarked for the phase one redevelopment project of dilapidated schools in Sarawak, involving an allocation of RM350 million which will be financed by loan repayments from Sarawak to the federal government.

Of the 37 schools, Lim added that the tender for 21 schools had been called, with six projects being issued the Letter of Acceptance (SST) and that for 15 schools to be decided by the Sarawak Federal Treasury Procurement Board today (Feb 21).

Lim also attributed the delay due to a proposal to close and merge several primary schools and open a new school, but which was not agreed to by the Finance Ministry and Works Ministry.

To this, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong had yesterday hit back at Chong for giving a misleading statement that did not provide the “true picture” of the issue.

Manyin pointed out that Abang Johari was given a comprehensive briefing by PWD Sarawak on the progress of the project on Feb 14 and that Chong’s statement was a reflection of his arrogance and propensity to make statements without checking the facts. —DayakDaily