Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong

KUCHING: Despite making the first and second payment tranches worth RM700 million to Putrajaya, work to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak has not commenced.

Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong

This irked Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong who urged Malaya to make good on its promises after Sarawak paid the second tranche of its loan repayment on Feb 7.

“Although it is already more than five months since the state paid the first tranche (RM350 million), 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 in a statement released to the press yesterday.

Manyin said that there has been a constant flip-flop in Putrajaya’s decision to appoint the implementing agency and urged the federal government to sort it out.

“We hope that Sarawak Public Works Department (JKR) can be appointed as the implementing agency that all tendering will be done through the federal tender board in Sarawak, and that only contractors that are based in Sarawak are awarded these jobs.

“If JKR Malaysia has to be appointed as the implementing agency, we hope they can give JKR Sarawak a blanket authorisation to issue letters of acceptance and to sign contract for all the rebuilding or upgrading projects under this RM1 billion initiative.

“This will help to expedite the process and alleviate the long suffering that our students and teachers have endured,” he said.

Manyin also demanded that the fund should also be channeled directly to JKR Sarawak for efficient management and speedy implementation of the project.

Last year, Sarawak and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) entered into a compromise with Putrajaya only agreeing to repair dilapidated schools in the state on the condition that Sarawak repay its outstanding RM1 billion loan in advance.

The first tranche of RM350 million was paid in August 2019 and was to be used to rebuild or upgrade 37 dilapidated schools.

Manyin said that the state Education Department and JKR have already finalised the list of schools and the scope of work and were ready to tender the project only for MoF to intervene and delay the tendering process.