A Raspberry Pi motherboard.

KOTA SAMARAHAN: The costs paid by the state government to purchase Raspberry Pi computers for 1,265 primary schools statewide are justifiable said Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Amar Michael Manyin Jawong.

“Sains (Sarawak Information Systems) will be taking care of these computers. It will distribute, install, provide training and guarantee it for three years. If any is spoilt, it will be replaced one-to-one.

“Installation and training are expensive. We have 1,265 schools and many are in the rural areas, I don’t think any company will take it.

“But this is GLC (government linked company). Sains is a GLC, so it is more than justifiable. We don’t make any money,” he said in response to Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii who questioned the high costs of purchasing these computers.

He said this after attending the Innostre Special Edition 2020: The 1st Global Summit on Viral-Immunology and Antiviral Therapy of Covid-19 conference at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Kota Samarahan here today.

Manyin said his ministry had no need to justify its costs to anyone on its procurement as it is its prerogative, adding that it was all done for the common good.

“The main purpose is to reduce the gap between urban and rural areas and give everyone access to digital computers. It (Raspberry Pi) is better than an ordinary computer, yet today, he (Dr Yii) is still asking about why it is still expensive,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Bandar Kuching MP said the deal for the purchase of about 10,000 Raspberry Pi for RM 1,191 each including a 19.5-inch monitor, keyboard, mouse and preloaded software was actually inflated.

“The current market price for a Pi 4 4GB is RM220, an SD card is priced around RM15, a 19.5-monitor at around RM250 and a keyboard and mouse are priced at around RM100 each depending on the specs.

“All in all, each full set should cost around RM600 plus which is almost half or 50 percent of the price quoted by the state government,” Dr Yii said.