Indecision on project implementer behind delay repairing dilapidated schools in Sarawak

Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin.

By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Feb 15: Work has yet to start on any school infrastructure, five months since the Sarawak government paid the first tranche amounting to RM350 million  to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) as part of its RM1 billion contra loan to the federal government towards rebuilding and upgrading of 37 dilapidated schools.

Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin said the Sarawak government had paid the first tranche of RM350 million in Aug 2019, and the second tranche amounting RM350 million on Feb 7, 2020 bringing the total to RM700 million.

“Although the State Education Department and the State Public Works Department had already finalised the list of schools and the scope of work and were ready to tender these projects, the intervention of the MoF to review the scope as well as the list of schools has delayed the tendering process,” he said at a press conference yesterday.

ABANG JOHARI

According to Manyin, the delay had been caused by indecision on the project implementer.

As per the agreement of Federal and State government, MoF had appointed JKR Sarawak as the project implementer through its letter dated Aug 5, 2019. However, a letter dated Sept 18 from JKR Malaysia appointed JKR Sarawak only as Assistant Project Manager.

Then a month later, another letter from JKR Malaysia informed them that the appointment of JKR Malaysia as the Project Implementer had been cancelled. On Dec 10, 2019, MoF issued instructions that JKR Malaysia would be the Implementing Agency and that JKR Sarawak had been appointed only as Project Manager.

Manyin said that the state was very disappointed and wanted all parties to honour all earlier decisions made between the state and the federal government.

“We hope that JKR Sarawak can be appointed as the Implementing Agency, that all tendering will be done through the Federal Tender Board in Sarawak, and that only contractors that are based in Sarawak are awarded these jobs.

“If JKR Malaysia has to be appointed as the Implementing Agency, we hope that JKR Malaysia can give JKR Sarawak a blanket authorisation to issue letters of acceptance and to sign contracts for all the rebuilding or upgrading projects under this RM1 billion initiative. This will help to expedite the process and alleviate the long suffering that our students and teachers have endured.

“Also, funds should also be given direct to JKR Sarawak for efficient management of the fund and speedy implementation of the project.” —DayakDaily