An allocation to upgrade 30 dilapidated schools in Sarawak in Budget 2017 only meets 16 per cent of the overall needs.
Minister of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said there were 486 dilapidated schools throughout Sarawak and 183 of them were categorised as ‘worst than others’.
“We need to upgrade all 183 dilapidated schools. They cannot wait. The allocation for only 30 schools does not even constitute half of the schools that urgently need repairs and upgrading.
“We have earnestly hoped that there will be allocation for all the 183 schools. Somehow, we already knew that realistically, that would not be quite possible,” Fatimah said when contacted for her response to the 2017 Budget announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in parliament yesterday.
“There are 183 schools which need immediate upgrading. The school development sector within the State Education Department will have to decide which schools would be upgraded first.
“They will decide and prioritise those needing to be upgraded first. It would be very hard because 183 of them are all in the same category. We have already categorised all schools in Sarawak into three categories. Those that fall under ‘most dilapidated and in need of instant upgrading’ number 183. It would be hard for the school development sector to decide,” said the Dalat assemblywoman.
When asked if the state would take the matter into its hand in view of the urgent needs and the limited resources from the federal government, Fatimah said she would have to re-look at the whole situation with the state Education Department.
“I will have to discuss it with the state Education Department to come up with a proposal in view of the limited allocation given under the Budget 2017.”
“We will then submit the proposal to the state cabinet and see what can be done by the state to help the rest of the schools which are in dire straits of rebuilding or upgrading,” said Fatimah.
Najib had announced in Budget 2017 that RM570 million would be allocated to upgrade 60 dilapidated schools in Peninsular Malaysia and 30 each in Sarawak and Sabah.
Source : Lian Cheng@The Borneo Post Online