KUCHING: PBB information chief Datuk Idris Buang condemned Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng over his position on the repair of dilapidated schools in Sarawak.
He was responding to a demand made by Guan Eng that the state government must first repay RM350 million owed to Putrajaya before starting any repair work.
This was after the state government agreed to the four prescribed legal mechanisms on the RM1billion contra-loan issued by the Finance Ministry.
“Guan Eng is being undiplomatic, unfriendly and discourteous to the people of Sarawak. He forgot that the whole of Malaysia owes Sarawak in more ways than one. It is the constitutional obligation of the federal government to provide whatever for the upkeep of schools in Sarawak,” he said.
Idris thought that the chief minister’s readiness to advance state funds and end the suffering of school children had been misconstrued deliberately or otherwise.
“Instead of giving Sarawak felicitations and warm greetings on Sarawak Day, Guan Eng chose to send us a message with clear bad taste!”
The proposed RM1-billion contra-loan deal was floated to repair dilapidated schools in the state. The state government was expected to front the money to the federal government initially to fund the repair.
Guan Eng, however, issued a counter-offer of not paying back the RM1 billion to the state government as it is considered a repayment of Sarawak’s RM2.375 billion debt to the federal government.
In a statement issued by his Ministry on July 6, he indicated four legal mechanisms for the deal to go through.
Firstly, the Sarawak government must repay up to RM1 billion of its total debt to the federal government into the Federal Government Consolidated Fund in accordance to the law and the Federal Constitution.
Secondly, the federal government will channel the same amount as repaid by the state government as allocation for use in projects to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak.
Thirdly, the repair of the dilapidated schools in Sarawak should be by open tender to ensure transparency and fair value based on the current federal government financial arrangements.
Lastly, the federal government is willing to take into account the priority of the Sarawak government in determining the schools to be repaired.