File photo shows a classroom in a dilapidated primary school in Sarawak.

KUCHING (Aug 6): Sarawak will get extra allocation under the coming 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP) for repair of dilapidated schools in the state, said Deputy Minister of Education Muslimin Yahaya.

Muslimin said this extra allocation is in addition to the RM1 billion that has been allocated under the contra loan payment agreement with the state government.

“For Sarawak under the 12MP from the years 2021 to 2025, another 529 schools are projected to be redeveloped or upgraded.

“Under the (current) 11th Malaysian Plan, the Ministry of Education (MOE) had projected 606 schools in the state (to be repaired/ upgraded). Therefore once the numbers are totalled up, that means there are almost 1,200 schools which are projected by MOE to be redeveloped and upgraded,” he said at the Parliament in Kuala Lumpur today.

Muslimin mentioned these when replying to a supplementary question by Ahmad Johnie Zawawi (GPS – Igan) during the question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat sitting.

Ahmad Johnie had queried whether the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government would consider honouring a pledge by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government to allocate RM1 billion to expedite the repair and upgrade of dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

He was referring to the pledge made by BN to allocate RM500 million in 2018 and another RM500 million the following year. This pledge was however cancelled and not honoured when Pakatan Harapan took power following the 2018 general election.

“Sarawak has 1,020 dilapidated schools which are in critical condition including 14 in Igan parliamentary area. Looking at the RM1 billion contra loan payment agreement with the Sarawak government, on average only 130 schools can be repaired/upgraded (per phase of contra loan payment). Approximately RM6.8 billion is still needed to solve the dilapidated schools problem in Sarawak,” said Ahmad Johnie before his supplementary question.

Earlier, Muslimin in replying to Ahmad Johnie’s original question said the federal government had spent RM1.388 billion from 2016 to 2020 to upgrade and redevelop 291 schools with dilapidated buildings in Sarawak.

Under the RM1 billion contra loan payment agreed by the Cabinet on February 20 in 2019, he said this is being implemented in three phases starting with 41 schools in Phase 1 (RM350 million) and 53 schools in Phase 2 (RM350 million) while the list and project scope for Phase 3 (RM300 million) is still being finalised by MOE and the Sarawak government.

He explained these projects comprise of building of new classrooms, administration blocks, hostels, teachers quarters, dining hall, resource centre, science room, toilets and other facilities.

He also revealed that work has started on 21 of the 41 projects in Phase 1, while the other 20 projects are at pre-construction stage. As for Phase 2 projects, he said all the 53 projects are also at pre-construction stage.

He also informed and invited the members of the Dewan Rakyat to visit the webpage – https://projekdaif.moe.gov.my – which is a specific dashboard page to monitor the progress of dilapidated school repairs in all the 222 parliamentary constituencies nationwide.

Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution (PH – Kulim-Bandar Baharu) and Teo Nie Ching (PH – Kulai) also stood up to ask supplementary questions to Muslimin regarding status of solar power projects for schools in Sarawak and whether there will be extra budget to fix dilapidated schools in Sarawak.