Sarawak minister accuses Chong Chieng Jen of deception on dilapidated schools

Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin says Chong has no standing to talk about this as education is not under the purview of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin says Chong has no standing to talk about this as education is not under the purview of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Feb 20 ― Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen should stop making misleading statements on dilapidated schools in Sarawak as he does not have any detailed information on the matter, state Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin said today.

He said Chong also had no standing to talk about this as education is not under the purview of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs.

“As the deputy minister for domestic trade and consumer affairs, Chong should concentrate his efforts on addressing domestic trade issues such as rising prices of essential items which has burdened the people, especially the B40 group,” Manyin said in response to Chong’s statement yesterday.

Chong denied Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari’s allegation that not a single dilapidated school in Sarawak had been fixed.

He said Abang Johari should have asked the state’s Public Work Department (PWD) about the progress or delay in repairs before accusing the federal government.

Today, Manyin told Chong that the chief minister’s statement was correct and true.

“This fact is confirmed by the statement of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today that not a single school has been fixed,” he said.

Manyin said the chief minister was given a comprehensive briefing on the progress of the RM1 billion project by the state PWD on February 14.

He said Abang Johari’s statement was made based on this briefing.

“Hence, the assertion by Chong that the chief minister has not consulted the state PWD is baseless and is merely an attempt by him to belittle the chief minister for cheap political mileage,” he said.

Lim, in a statement issued in Kuala Lumpur today, clarified that tender for the development of 16 dilapidated schools in Sarawak has been postponed to enable the Education Ministry and the Sarawak Public Works Department to review the scope and cost of the project.

“The tender for these schools is expected to be implemented in March 2020,” he said in a statement today on the status of the redevelopment project for dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

The 16 schools are part of the 37 earmarked for the phase one redevelopment project of dilapidated schools in Sarawak, involving an allocation of RM350 million which will be financed by loan repayments from Sarawak to the federal government.

Of the 37 schools, the tender for 21 schools had been called, with six projects being issued the Letter of Acceptance (SST) and that for 15 schools to be decided by the Sarawak Federal Treasury Procurement Board tomorrow.

Lim said the postponement of tender for these schools was also due to a proposal to close and merge several primary schools and open a new school, but this was not agreed to by the Finance Ministry and Works Ministry.

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