By Karen Bong and Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Feb 16: Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong has described as “very, very positive” the discussion with the Education Ministry to continue supplying diesel to 21 rural Chinese-aided and mission schools that depend on generators for electricity.
The Education Ministry had originally planned to halt the diesel supply from April this year.
“In the meeting yesterday, the response given to me was very, very positive that the supply will not be disrupted because I really made an appeal during the meeting,” he told reporters when met at PBB headquarters here today.
The issue of diesel supply for rural schools was raised during Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB)’s Supreme Council meeting chaired by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at party headquarters.
On the reasons for stopping the supply, Manyin replied that he had no idea. The diesel supply started in 2014, and from that year until 2016, over 30 contractors were engaged to deliver the fuel worth about RM1 billion to 271 schools. But the number of schools has ballooned to 371 now.
“However, since 2017, there is only one supplier, who is currently facing a court case, and this could be a problem,” he opined.
Manyin is unsure if the federal government would terminate the contract of this particular supplier.
He, however, reckoned that the best solution to light up these schools is to connect them to the electricity grid.
In fact, a proposal was submitted last year to have 113 schools that are located within 10km of the electricity grid to be hooked to the grid. This undertaking is estimated to cost RM50 million.
As for the remaining 258 schools, the plan is to install solar hybrid systems. — DayakDaily