Minister: Fed govt needs to be proactive in supplying electricity to off-grid rural schools in Sarawak

Julaihi (fourth Left) with his ministry and agency staff at the Sarawal Ministry of Utility and Telecommunication Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at BCCK on April 29, 2023.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, April 29: Proactive involvement is needed from the Education Ministry (MoE) to implement the Sarawak Alternative Rural Electrification Scheme (Sares) to off-grid rural schools under the federal government’s jurisdiction.

In saying this, Sarawak Minister of Utility and Telecommunication, Datuk Julaihi Narawi, said the related ministries should be able to contribute.

“The Sarawak government needs MoE’s approval to carry out infrastructure activities in supplying utility services like Sares,

“There is nothing much we can do unless the MoE is also very proactive in seeing what we are doing,” he told reporters during his ministry’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) today.

Earlier, a reporter asked whether the Sarawak government had ever discussed with MoE on SARES, as solar power had never taken off in off-grid rural schools.

Julaihi shared that if the Sarawak government could supply electricity supply to off-grid rural areas, the federal government must be able to reciprocate it.

“We could only supply to a certain extent, as it is under the federal government’s jurisdiction. The same goes for the supply of water to rural schools. For example, like internal wiring or piping, it is under the responsibility of MoE,” he said.

He said there is nothing wrong if MoE is willing to work together as the Sarawak and the federal governments should be able to do it together.

“All this needs a budget, so the federal government must be able to reciprocate what we are doing and cannot rely on Sarawak alone.

“Hopefully, we can do it (implement Sares) because even though the school is under MoE and the federal government, it is in Sarawak. Our children study in these schools, so we want the best facilities,” he said.

Also present was his deputy, Datuk Liwan Lagang. — DayakDaily