MoF dithering delays repairs of schools
The indecision over appointment of project implementer stymies school repair project
KUCHING: The indecision by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on appointment of project implementer is delaying the rebuilding and upgrading of dilapidated schools in Sarawak although a total RM700 million has already been paid in two tranches for this purpose.
Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong told reporters yesterday it has been more than five months since Sarawak government paid the first tranche of RM350 million of the RM1 billion part payment of its federal loan which the federal government agreed to be used for school repairs and upgrades in the state.
Despite the delay, Sarawak government paid the second tranche of RM350 million to the MoF on February 7.
Under the arrangement with MoF, Sarawak government is to pay the third and final tranche of the contra loan repayment of RM300 million in June this year.
“As per agreement of Federal and State government, Ministry of Finance appointed JKR (Public Works Department) Sarawak as the Project Implementer through its le er dated August 5, 2019. However a le er dated September 18, 2019 from JKR Malaysia appointed JKR Sarawak only as Assistant Project Manager.
“One month later, there was another le er from JKR
Malaysia to inform that the appointment JKR Malaysia as the Project Implementer has been cancelled.
“On December 10, 2019, MOF issued instruction that JKR Malaysia is the Implementing Agency and that JKR Sarawak has been appointed only as Project Manager,” he said.
Although the State Education Department and JKR Sarawak have finalised the list of schools and the scope of work and were ready to tender these projects, the intervention by the MoF to review the scope as well as the list of schools has delayed the tendering process, he added.
“Work has not started at all, not even in one school. The state is very disappointed and wants all parties to honour all the earlier decisions made between the state and the federal government,” he said.
Manyin hoped JKR Sarawak would be appointed as the Implementing Agency and tenders for the project would be submi ed to the Federal Tender Board in Sarawak.
He also hoped only contractors that are based in Sarawak are awarded these jobs.
“If JKR Malaysia has to be appointed as the Implementing Agency, we hope that JKR Malaysia can give JKR Sarawak a blanket authorisation to issue le ers of acceptance and to sign contract for all the rebuilding or upgrading projects under this RM 1 Billion initiative.
This will help to expedite the process and alleviate the long suffering that our students and teachers have endured.
“Also, fund should also be given direct to JKR Sarawak for efficient management of the fund and speedy implementation of the project.”
It has been previously reported that there are 1,020 dilapidated schools in Sarawak out of which 415 are in critical need for repairs.
Work has not started at all, not even in one school. The state is very disappointed and wants all parties to honour all the earlier decisions. Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong