School building row: DAP leader hits back at Padawan Municipal Council chairman

Abdul Aziz explaining the background of the IBS building projects for various schools under 11MP Rolling Plans 1 and 2.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, March 20: DAP Batu Kitang Branch chairman Abdul Aziz Isa today fired back at ‘ignorant’ Padawan Municipal Council (PMC) chairman Lo Khere Chiang for spinning stories about the occupational permit (OP) for the new school block of SK Jalan Haji Baki.

“He (Lo) thought I was accusing PMC of not issuing OP for the newly completed IBS (Industrial Built System) school block for SK Jalan Haji Baki when I was only asking why no PMC councillors had raised the issue if the building, completed in 2016, had yet to received OP,” he told a press conference at DAP headquarters today.

Abdul Aziz said Lo should settle the OP issue immediately because pupils’ and teachers’ safety and lives were at risk without the certification to show that the building was fit for occupation.

“If anything happens to the pupils and teachers, who will be held responsible? Contractor?” he questioned.

“It only goes to show how ignorant Lo is for not being able to read my statement properly.”

Abdul Aziz highlighted that the initiative to build a new school block costing RM26.52 million was approved by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP).

“However, only a portion, RM2.93 million or 11.5 per cent, was allocated to build the IBS school block,” he elaborated.

He also highlighted that it was the Ministry of Education during the reign of BN that appointed a West Malaysian contractor to do the simple job in 2016.

“If Lo is aware of this issue and claimed that Sarawak has so many capable contractors, why didn’t he and PMC not convene an urgent meeting to discuss this matter? Did he write any official letters to the then Minister of Education Dato Seri Mahdzir Khalid to request the ministry appoint a local contractor?” he asked.

“If not, Lo has no right to blame the current Pakatan Harapan (PH) government for the appointment of a contractor.”

Abdul Aziz also said he was aware that the school block was not ‘completed as expected’ because the contractor did not do a proper job. But he wondered why PMC councillors did not assist the contractor to follow the guidelines so that the consultant could apply for an OP.

On a related matter, Abdul Aziz advised Lo to stop being jealous of him (Abdul Aziz) taking a picture when handing over a donation of RM5,000 on behalf of Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen.

“It shows that DAP can approve an allocation within a short span of time without any delay. This means that DAP-elected reps are more effective and efficient to approve funds in their constituency, unlike SUPP-elected reps … they tend to delay the fund allocation,” he remarked.

On the State Budget 2019, Abdul Aziz challenged Lo to secure some funds from the state government for PMC to develop schools in its jurisdiction. — DayakDaily