MoCS: Stop squabbling, get on with repair of rundown schools

By Churchill Edward

KUCHING: It’s time for Petra Jaya and Putrajaya to stop dilly-dallying over the issue of repairs of dilapidated schools because the matter has been dragging on for too long.

The call came from Movement of Change Sarawak (MoCS) president Francis Paul Siah, who wished to see an immediate stop to the arguments.

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He said the people, particularly in Sarawak, are fed-up with politicians from both sides who never seemed to agree on how to get the job done.

“While the politicians dilly-dally, the rakyat (people) suffer. How much longer will it take to resolve the matter? It’s now time for both sides to treat the dilapidated schools conundrum with the utmost urgency. That matter has been discussed and debated for quite a while now. Those days should be over by now,” said Siah yesterday.

He also said rundown schools cannot continue to operate with leaking roofs, broken windows, non-flushable toilets, insufficient tables and chairs for staff and students and so on, while pointing out that some schools are also without electricity and treated water.

“Let us imagine ourselves in a classroom without even a ceiling fan on a hot afternoon. An environment which is not conducive to teaching and learning will not produce bright students. It is also important for both governments to agree on a proper mechanism in the award of the repair works for dilapidated schools,” he added.

“RM1 billion is a lot of money and it is incumbent upon the authorities to ensure as little wastage as possible in the utilisation of the funds. Gone should be the days of hanky-panky deals,” he said, referring to the sum of the contra loan offer by the Sarawak government to the federal government for the repair of dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

The MoCS leader also suggested that communities in or near the locations of rundown schools be given contracts.

“We are aware that our local people themselves are able to build beautiful double-storey homes in their kampungs. They are self-taught engineers, skilled carpenters, masons, etc among them,” said Siah.

“These local contractors should be given priority over others. This is after all only repairs, work which could easily be handled by the local populace. It’s also time that some of them be given the main contractor job, not mere sub-contractors, as has been the trend in the past,” he added.

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