Rural schools upgrading on schedule, says Works Minister

Baru (seated centre) at a welcoming reception for him at a local hotel here today. It was organised by state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

KUCHING, July 8: Upgrading work on the 50 schools under the state Public Works Department (JKR) purview is “moving nicely”, said Works Minister Baru Bian today.

A total of 116 rural schools in the state are up for upgrading, and under the previous government, 50 were entrusted to the Works Ministry and the rest to the Education Ministry.

Last month, it was reported that some schools were grossly behind schedule.

Petra Jaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah, who was formerly the Works Minister, clarified recently that all the school projects placed under the care of the state JKR were on schedule, except for a few schools because of various issues, including piling.

Baru told a press conference here today that those under the state JKR were 66 per cent completed on average.

On ‘sick’ projects under the Education Ministry, Baru said he was willing to receive them if the Education Ministry wanted to give them back to the Works Ministry.

“If they are (Education Minsitry) willing to give them back to JKR, we are prepared to take them back,” said Baru, adding that his ministry only has provisory power over the 66 schools without the Education Ministry handing over the projects.

Meanwhile, Baru, who is Selangau MP and Ba ‘Kelalan assemblyman, assured that the Industrialised Building System (IBS) was an effective solution to rebuild dilapidated schools.

He said in the peninsula, the system was used and the outcome was excellent.

“In Sarawak, the problem is probably transportation that is stalling the whole thing,” he said.

He said he was appointed to the right ministry as an effective road system was crucial in making sure the rural school upgrading projects, among others, could be completed on time. — DayakDaily