By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, May 6: Minister for Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Amar Michael Manyin Jawong has alleged that Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian is trying to gain political mileage by highlighting SK Long Sukang in Lawas, which includes issues such as an uncompleted school building, shortage of teachers and establishment of a sports school.
Manyin in a press statement yesterday said the issue is not new as the construction of the school is under the purview of the Federal Ministry of Education (MOE) adding that the Sarawak government has also stepped in to assist in building six units of teacher quarters under the Northern Region Development Authority (NRDA) which is expected to be completed in July 2022.
“It is quite surprising that YB Baru Bian is raising this issue only now when it has been there since 2010.
“If he had been more caring and concerned about the community, being a YB since 2011, he should have reached out to MOE in order to understand the actual problem and provide suggestions for practical solution, instead of just throwing out criticisms.
“In addition, he was the co-chairman of Mesyuarat Tindakan Pembangunan Negeri (MTPNg), a committee that is in charge of the overall project development by the Federal Government in Sarawak between 2018-2019, where he had the authority to solve the problem, yet he never raised the issue and attempted to settle the problem.
“We cannot help but feel that he is merely trying to garner attention for political mileage.
“After all, why did he not resolve the matter when he had every opportunity to do so as the Federal Minister of Works under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Government in 2018-2020?” Manyin asked.
Manyin was responding to a statement from Baru published in a local daily on April 24 on the uncompleted SK Long Sukang in Lawas and other educational issues such as sports school and shortage of teachers in the rural areas.
Meanwhile, Manyin disclosed that the SK Long Sukang project consists of six-classrooms, an academic block, canteen, student hostels, dining hall, pre-school and other related facilities was implemented in 2009 directly by MOE at a cost of RM19.442 million and scheduled for completion in 2012.
However, due to slope failure that occurred in 2010, he added the construction of classroom and academic block, as well as the school canteen was stopped upon advice by the geo-technical expert, and were subsequently taken out from the project scope in 2014.
Manyin noted other project scopes that include student hostels, dining hall, pre-school building and other related facilities were completed and handed over to MOE in May 2014.
Manyin asserted that MOE was eager to continue the project but there was a dispute between the joint venture companies and the dispute was only resolved in 2020.
He gathered that the delayed construction of the administrative and academic block, canteen as well as the additional scope to improve the slope have been resubmitted to the Federal Economic Planning Unit (EPU) by MOE for Notice of Change (NOC) in 2020.
As for the establishment of a sports school in Lawas, Manyin said it requires many facilities and specialised personnel thus it would be ideal to be set up in bigger towns where good facilities are available.
He said the State Education Department had made an application in 2017 to MOE for a Sekolah Sukan Malaysia to be built in Kuching.
As for the shortage of teachers, Manyin said the matter has been brought up for discussion with Minister of Education Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin and recommendations to resolve the problems have been proposed to him.
“Response from the Minister is that they will study the proposal and look into ways to solve the problem once and for all. We hope that the Ministry of Education will take action immediately,” Manyin added. — DayakDaily