Putrajaya must deal with dilapidated schools issue with utmost urgency — NGO

Eric Tay

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KUCHING, Feb 21: Non-governmental organisation, Kuching Team Dynamic, has urged the federal government to accelerate the pace in repairing 1,020 dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

Its chief Eric Tay said the Pakatan Harapan government must deal with this matter with a high sense of urgency as the schooling environment relates closely the quality of education and affect the competitiveness of students.

“If the money has been received five months ago, then it should be utilised in a more efficient way, at least something better than just six schools awarded with repair projects,” he said in a statement.

He was responding to Sarawak Pakatan chairman Chong Chieng Jen, who recently said that tenders for two projects were awarded on Jan 14 and four on Feb 14, in fulfilling the agreement made between Putrajaya and the state government to repair dilapidated schools across Sarawak through a contra deal of RM1 billion.

To date, Sarawak government has paid the first tranche of RM350 million in August 2019, and second tranche of RM350 million on Feb 7 this year to the Finance Ministry.

“The prompt action reflects that the state government understand well the plight of the children of Sarawak, and the importance of education to our future,” Tay said.

He also made reference to Works Minister Baru Bian, who said last month that the first trench of the contra loan RM350 million would be utilised during the first half of the year and expected to benefit 37 schools in Sarawak.

Tay deemed the current pace as unacceptable that just six out of 37 (about 16 per cent) projects were tendered out considering that the payment was made in August last year.

“Despite being government for first time, Pakatan must somehow be accountable to show greater effectiveness and higher determination in administering the country, especially when it’s about major issues, such as education,” he said.

Tay urged Chong and Baru, who is also Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat chairman, as the representatives of Sarawak in the federal cabinet, to play a more active role in ensuring the federal government to walk the talk of utilising the loan repayment to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak. — DayakDaily