Abang Johari: Proposed RM1b contra loan already discussed

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg speaks at a press conference in Kuching June 10, 2019. — Bernama pic
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg speaks at a press conference in Kuching June 10, 2019. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, July 7 — The Sarawak government has already discussed with the Federal government through Education Minister Maszlee Malik the proposed RM1 billion contra loan to be allocated for repairs of dilapidated schools in the state, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the arrangement to offer the RM1 billion as contra payment to the state loan of some RM2.4 billion had been agreed in principle by both parties.

“We have also sent a letter (regarding the matter) to the Ministry of Finance (MOF),” he told reporters at the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Satok Gawai Raya event at Kampung Segedup here last night. 

Commenting on a statement by the MOF yesterday that the state government had yet to provide any official feedback to the Federal government on the matter, Abang Johari also said he was not notified of any changes in the initial agreement with Maszlee during their meeting last May.

He had yet to see the details of the four prescribed legal mechanisms by the MOF on the proposal for the Sarawak government to utilise the contra loan repayments to repair the dilapidated schools, the Chief Minister said.

In the statement, the Finance Ministry had said the Federal government’s stand on the method of dilapidated school repairs in Sarawak via four legal mechanisms had been explained to the Sarawak government during a meeting at the ministry on March 11, 2019, followed by a letter dated March 20, 2019.

Firstly, the Sarawak government must repay up to RM1 billion from its total debt from 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 for projects to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

Thirdly, the repair works of the dilapidated schools in Sarawak should be offered by open tender, to ensure transparency and fair value based on the current Federal government financial arrangements.

Fourthly, the Federal government is willing to take into account the priority of the Sarawak government in determining the schools to be repaired. — Bernama

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