Roland Sagah: 565 dilapidated schools still under consideration for development

Sagah (seated centre) addressing a press conference at the Media Centre of the DUN Complex. Also seen are (seated from left) Dr Annuar and Kameri.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, May 24: Of the 1,020 dilapidated schools in Sarawak, 565 are still being considered for future development.

Giving this update, Minister for Education, Innovation and Talent Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn informed that only 245 out of 455 dilapidated schools identified for various repairs, rebuilding or relocation projects have been completed so far.

In terms of funding for those projects, since 2016, the Federal government through MOE (Ministry of Education) has allocated about RM1.7 billion for 242 school development projects.

“On the other hand, the Sarawak government has provided about RM1.3 billion for 213 schools development projects including RM1 billion advance payment to Federal government, Projek Rakyat (RM140 million) and under Recoda (RM160 million),” he said when delivering his winding-up speech at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today.

Sagah also explained that only RM300 million out of the RM1 billion advance payment has been used up so far, even though most of the allocations have already been disbursed to schools.

“They are due to various reasons and one of them being the schools that have been identified are in very bad shape and would need to be relocated, thus the need for reevaluation.

“Even though we (the Ministry) say don’t make the Covid-19 pandemic an excuse, but that’s the reality of things. Due to restrictions and shortage of workers, some of the projects are seeing delays in implementation,” he told a press conference later.

Due to the large numbers of dilapidated schools throughout Sarawak and funding constraints, Sagah urged all members of the august House to be patient as the Sarawak government is doing their best to resolve the issues.

Meanwhile, of the 1,020 dilapidated schools in Sarawak, 415 are considered DS3 category, 210 in DS2 category and 395 in DS1 category.

Sagah pointed out that the Ministry, Sarawak Education Department and Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak have categorised dilapidated schools into three categories.

DS1 refers to 25 per cent dilapidation involving schools of 30 to 40-year-old buildings, partially wood-based buildings with minimal damage that only require maintenance.

DS2 refers to 50 per cent dilapidation involving 40 to 50-year-old buildings which are mostly wood-based with more physical damage that require repairs and maintenance.

DS3 refers to 75 per cent dilapidation involving more than 50-year-old buildings, which are all wood-based and have major structure damage.

Deputy Minister for Higher Education and Innovation Dr Annuar Rapaee and permanent secretary to the Ministry Datu Kameri Affendi were among those present at the press conference. — DayakDaily