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KUCHING, July 28: It is the responsibility of the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led federal government to upgrade dilapidated rural schools in the state since education is a federal concern, says Sarawak for Sarawakians (S4S).
In a press statement today, its team leader, Dinis Repong, argued that oil and gas from Sarawak contributed RM50.5 billion to the federal coffers last year, and in 2017, the then Barisan Nasional (BN) government announced an allocation of RM1 billion for the rebuilding of rural schools.
“But today the federal government has frozen it. How does Sarawak feel about it?” asked Dinis.
He noted that the state government was willing to offer a RM1 billion loan to the federal government for the rebuilding of dilapidated schools, but Putrajaya must pay back the loan. In addition, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg maintained that the move was not political in nature but done out of concern for the safety of the students.
“Since education is under the authority of the federation, it is their duty to provide unconditional funds,” asserted Dinis. “Don’t let the PH government manipulate this matter into a political issue.”
Saying that Sarawakians did not want the future of their children to be “played by politicians”, Dinis wondered whether the federal government had been fair to Sarawak.
“They only return five per cent (of petroleum royalty), but other channels of funds are either not approved or frozen. Don’t try to cheat us or rob our resources,” he said. “(The federal government is) like a hungry tiger, so what is the reason for Sarawak to remain in the Federation of Malaysia?” asked Dinis. — DayakDaily