PUTRAJAYA: The tender for 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, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
“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 (Feb 21), he added.
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.
It is feared that the proposed merger would involve the closure of schools near local community settlements because the new school was located farther and might cause students to drop out due to the factor of distance and high transport cost, he said.
“As such, the proposal on school closure was not agreed to and instead the existing schools should be repaired without reducing the number of schools,” Lim said.
He said that for 2020 the Finance Ministry had provided a development allocation of RM400 million for the dilapidated schools project in Sarawak compared to RM100 million in 2019.
The government had decided that this allocation should be used for upgrading dilapidated schools, including rebuilding classrooms which could not be repaired, he added.
“This allocation cannot be used to close and merge several schools with the sole purpose of building a new school as proposed by the State Education Department last year,” he said.