Schools’ diesel shortage solution: Each school to have 1 diesel supplier

Manyin (seated centre) speaking to reporters at the DUN Media Centre. With him are his assistant minister Dr Annuar Rapaee (left) and the ministry's Permanent Secretary Datuk Sudarsono Osman.

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KUCHING, July 17: To solve the diesel woes faced by 371 schools in Sarawak, the state Education Department will appoint one contractor per school to supply this fuel.

Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong said district education offices were now appointing local contractors for all the affected schools, which depend on generators for electricity.

Each supplier will be allocated RM20,000 per month or a ceiling of RM200,000 for 10 months’ supply of diesel.

“We have received a directive from the Finance Ministry dated June 20, 2018. They instructed the district education offices to appoint one local contractor for one school.

“With this development, we hope there would not be any school remaining in the dark. As of today, all schools should be receiving their supply of diesel,” Manyin told a press conference after delivering his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today.

He related that last year, a proposal was submitted to have 113 schools that are located within 10km of the electricity grid to be connected to the grid. The estimated cost for such an undertaking is RM50 million. For the remaining 258 schools, the plan was to install solar hybrid systems for them.

On those schools without treated water supply, Manyin said 428 schools currently depend on various water sources, such as rainwater, gravity feed and rivers.

The state Education Department submitted a proposal to the Education Ministry two years ago for 62 schools to be connected to the water grid, at an estimated cost of RM9.2 million.

Manyin said the Finance Ministry approved RM2.3 million for this project last month, but the state Education Department was still waiting for the warrant.

“The reality is that in Sarawak, we still have many schools that do not have basic amenities such as electricity and treated water. Until today, we still have schools that are without electricity, without treated water and without road accessibility, let alone Internet connectivity,” Manyin lamented.

He added that of the 1,457 schools in Sarawak, about 50 per cent of them do not have proper road access. Of this figure, 200 schools are accessible only by river or sea, while 521 schools do not enjoy all-weather road access.

“The issue of dilapidated schools in the state is already well publicised. The main challenge this next five years is to address 1,020 schools in dilapidated conditions, of which 415 are categorised as critically dilapidated,” he pointed out.

Manyin said 205 of the 415 critically dilapidated schools had been approved for rebuilding or upgrading under the 11th Malaysia Plan. The remaining 210 schools were to be rebuilt under the special funding of RM1 billion over a period of two years. It was approved during the 2018 Budget.

Manyin said the Education Ministry had awarded contracts amounting to RM419 million to repair 116 schools. He hoped the amount was not part of the approved RM1 billion fund. — DayakDaily