Sarawak minister clarifies why construction of school in Lawas halted

·3-min read
State Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin said the stop-work order only involved the classroom and academic block and the canteen. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
State Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin said the stop-work order only involved the classroom and academic block and the canteen. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, May 6 — State Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin clarified today that the construction of SK Long Sukang in the Lawas district was stopped due to a slope failure in 2010.

He said the stop-work order only involved the classroom and academic block and the canteen.

He said the decision was made upon the advice of a geo-technical expert, and the affected buildings were subsequently removed from the project scope in 2014.

“The other project scopes that include student hostels, a dining hall, a pre-school building, and other related facilities were completed and handed over to the Education Ministry (MOE) in May 2014,” Manyin said.

He was responding to Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian’s complaint that the construction of the school buildings had still not been completed after 12 years.

Manyin added the SK Long Sukang project was implemented in 2009 directly by the federal MOE at a cost of RM19.442 million.

He added the project was scheduled to be completed in 2012.

He said the federal ministry was eager to continue the project but was hampered by a dispute between the joint venture companies.

“We were informed that the dispute was only resolved in 2020,” he said, adding that the delayed construction of the administrative and academic block, canteen as well as the additional scope to improve the slope were resubmitted to the federal Economic Planning Unit (EPU) by MOE for Notice of Change (NOC) in 2020.

“Acknowledging the importance of education and in the spirit of caring for students and teachers, the Sarawak government decided to step in and approved the construction of six units of teacher quarters for SK Long Sukang under the Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA) and this is currently under construction and expected for completion in July 2022,” he said.

Manyin said he was surprised to hear Baru raising the issue now as it had first arisen in 2010.

He said Baru should have reached out to the MOE in order to understand the problem at hand and provide suggestions for a practical solution, instead of lobbing criticisms.

“In addition, he was the co-chairman of Mesyuarat Tindakan Pembangunan Negeri (MTPN), a committee that is in charge of the overall project development by the federal government in Sarawak between 2018-2019, where he had the authority to solve the problem, yet he never raised the issue and attempted to settle the problem.

“We cannot help but feel that he is merely trying to garner attention for political mileage.

“After all, why did he not resolve the matter when he had every opportunity to do so as the federal minister of works under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in 2018-2020,” Manyin said.

He also said that Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg raised the issue of the shortage of teachers in Sarawak to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during a meeting in February.

He added he had personally discussed it with Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Md Jidin.

“The response from the federal minister is that they will study the state’s proposals and recommendations and look into ways to solve the problem once and for all.

“We hope that the Ministry of Education will take action immediately,” Manyin said.

Related Articles What happened to SK Long Sukang after 12 years under construction? Baru asks Education Ministry Sarawak to look at relocating flood-prone schools next, says state education minister Sarawak minister rejects academic’s claim that state-linked private international schools were unlawful