PWD Sarawak defends costing of upgrading, building work of dilapidated schools

A screenshot of Dr Ting's post on his Facebook page on Feb 19.

KUCHING, Feb 25: Public Works Department (PWD) Sarawak clarified today that the cost of building work of dilapidated schools project in Sarawak was organised on the same competitive level based on the size of project, specifications and construction system.

As such, PWD Sarawak explained that the cost projection of the projects for each school varied taking into consideration various factors including unforeseeable issues.

“The average cost per metre square (for projects under the RM350 million fund package) is on the same competitive level as the RM100 million fund programme; i.e. RM1,744 per m/sq,” the statement stated.

PWD Sarawak was responding to a Facebook posting by former Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon on Feb 19 who criticised what was perceived as a big difference in the costs of construction for dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

He claimed that the average cost for the upgrading of 32 dilapidated schools under the RM100 million fund programme was RM3.13 million per school while the 37 dilapidated schools under the RM350 million package was RM9.46 million per school.

“The differences are big and only JKR Sarawak would know for sure. With those price tags, Sarawak will need another RM10 billion and 20 years to complete,” Dr Ting wrote in his post.

PWD Sarawak informed that the upgrading work for 12 out of 32 dilapidated schools in Sarawak had been completed under the RM100 million fund from the Education Ministry.

Meanwhile, 18 dilapidated schools were due for completion by April this year while the upgrading projects for the last two schools had been tendered out on Feb 15 which have been delayed due to site constraints.

“The RM100 million programme to upgrade 32 dilapidated schools in Sarawak is implemented by PWD Sarawak with PWD Malaysia as technical advisor.”

As for schools under the RM350 million package, PWD Sarawak said they were implemented based on conventional or Industrialised Building System (IBS) hybrid construction system.

“The scope of works include construction of administrative blocks, classroom blocks, hostels, toilets, dining halls, science room, resource room, bilik khas and quarters.”

On the delay in upgrading works, PWD Sarawak pointed out that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had been briefed on Feb 14 on the status of the implementation of the RM350 million package for dilapidated schools.

Abang Johari had then on Feb 18 voiced his disappointment that the federal government had not channelled funds back for dilapidated schools in Sarawak as promised under a contra deal even though the state government has paid RM700 million to settle the RM1 billion loan owed.—DayakDaily