RM5b required to repair, rebuild dilapidated schools across S’wak
Dr Annuar Rapaee   SIBU: About RM5 billion is required to repair and rebuild some 1,020 dilapidated schools across Sarawak, said Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee. Noting such urgency, he added that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has offered RM1 billion loan to the federal government to speedily tackle the issue as the RM1 billion allocation provided by the previous administration was inadequate. “We need a huge budget, which can easily come to at least RM5 billion to repair and rebuild the some 1,020 dilapidated schools in the state. “The RM1 billion given by the previous federal government is not enough. To solve the problem, the Chief Minister has offered another RM1 billion loan to the current federal government to rebuild dilapidated schools throughout Sarawak. The federal government will repay the loan later on,” he said today on the RM1 billion loan offered by Abang Johari to the federal government to rebuild dilapidated schools across the state. Abang Johari made the offer when officiating at the state-level Teachers Day celebration at Tan Sri Datuk Amar Kalong Ningkan hall in Betong recently. Dr Annuar, who is Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health, said this was a sincere offer by Abang Johari and should not be politicised by any quarters. “There is no political agenda behind the offer. This is a sincere offer by the Chief Minister to tackle this problem as soon as possible. So, let us put aside politics for the sake of our students,” the Nangka assemblyman added. He pointed out that the ball is now in the federal government’s court. “It is now up to the federal government to decide whether to use our (state’s) own money first and pay (us) back later. If they are not comfortable with this arrangement perhaps, to give budget allocation to Sarawak.” Dr Annuar highlighted that Abang Johari was very sincere in wanting to address the issue of dilapidated schools in Sarawak. “That is why the state government has also given out RM59 million, of which RM50 million is for the electrification of schools and RM9 million for water supply. This amount is from the state’s own fund,” he stressed. Reiterating on the RM1 billion loan, he said this was not the first time Abang Johari had made such offer. “When we discussed the issue of dilapidated schools in Sarawak and presented (the proposal) to the previous government last year – they did not take it (loan). Instead, they replaced with it with a budget allocation of RM1 billion each for Sabah and Sarawak previously. “So, the current offer is the same as that offered to the previous government,” he explained. [...]