Govt urged to release more details about reconstruction of dilapidated schools

Voon Shiak Ni

KUCHING, Feb 1: Welcoming the recent announcement about reconstructing dilapidated schools in the state, an Opposition leader has urged for more transparency surrounding the details of funding and for which of the 51 schools.

“For the purposes of transparency and accountability for the many millions (of ringgit) of public funds and the extent of work expected to be done for each of these schools, we would like to call on the Ministry (of Works) to let the public know the names of the schools under this project and the public funds allocated for each of these schools,” said PKR National Women vice-chief Voon Shiak Ni.

She was responding to the announcement by Minister of Works Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof who said that the Ministry of Finance (MOF) has approved the funds for the reconstruction of 51 dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

Fadillah was reported as saying the contractors are expected to be appointed by the end of this month.

“This is a good start for 2018. Finally we have some good news for the repair, reconstruction and upgrading of the many dilapidated schools in Sarawak which has been long overdue,” Voon said in a statement today.

However, Voon urged for more transparency in the initiative so the schools involved and members of public can assist in monitoring the reconstruction and upgrading works as there were many examples in the past of bad projects.

Voon pointed out that it was not uncommon for government projects to be delayed or not properly done and delivered and the government and its agents have always been advised to have better supervision and surveillance to make sure public funds are properly handled.

“We are talking about the interest, welfare and safety of the teachers, students and staff.

She stressed that the reports of failed projects as supported by the yearly findings of the Auditor-General’s Report indeed seriously calls for the need for transparency and better management of public funds and supervision of the progress of work on the ground .

She said details of the public funds to be disbursed for each of these schools, the names of the schools involved and the nature of upgrading works expected from the projects should be made public.

“This will enable the staff and people at the workplace or site to be the eyes and ears for the progress of the work to be done and in line with the policy of engaging public participation to help the fight against crime and corruption and to help the state to uphold accountability of all public funds involving projects by all government agencies,” she added. — DayakDaily