RM1b loan repayment – The ball is in your court, says Abg Jo

Follow and subscribe to DayakDaily on Telegram for faster news updates.

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, July 7: The state government has responded to the Finance Ministry through Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik with regards to the RM1 billion contra loan to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state has also discussed with Dr Maszlee on the arrangement to offer the RM1 billion as contra payment to the state loan of some RM2.4 billion, which has been agreed in principle by both parties.

“We have responded to Maszlee. We have sent a letter to the Ministry of Finance,” he told reporters when asked to comment on a statement by the Finance Ministry yesterday, which stated they have not received a respond from the Sarawak government.

Abang Johari said he has yet to read the ministry’s statement on the matter, nor he was notified of any changes to the initial agreement with Dr Maszlee during their meeting last May.

“As for the four conditions by the Ministry of Finance, I don’t know, I haven’t seen the details yet.

“Let me read it first. Not fair (to comment now), I haven’t read it yet,” he told reporters at the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Satok Raya do at Kampung Segedup, here, yesterday evening.

Earlier, the Finance Ministry issued a statement saying that in principle, the federal government has agreed to accept the RM1 billion loan repayment from Sarawak, which will be allocated for the repairs of dilapidated schools in the state, but with four conditions.

With the Sarawak government owing the federal government a total of RM2.375 billion, the state would still owe the federal government RM1.375 billion after the RM1 billion repayment, it said.

The proposal for the Sarawak government to utilise the loan repayment to repair the dilapidated schools was in fact, advanced money from the federal government because it involved funds previously lent to the state, the statement continued.

The ministry made it clear that the RM1 billion fund is actually owned by the federal government to be used to repair schools in Sarawak and subjected to four prescribed legal mechanisms:

First, the Sarawak government must repay RM1 billion from its total debt to the Federal Government Consolidated Fund, in line with the law and the Federal Constitution.

Secondly, the federal government will channel the same amount as allocation for projects to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

Third, the repair works of the dilapidated schools in Sarawak should be offered by open tender to ensure transparency and fair value, based on the current federal government financial arrangements.

Fourth, the federal government is willing to take into account the views of the Sarawak government with regards to which schools should be given priority for repairs. — DayakDaily