KUCHING (May 3): The Sarawak Government is serious in resolving the problem of dilapidated schools urgently and has offered to repay RM1 billion of its debt to the Federal Government through contra payment.
Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee said the State Government’s contra repayment offer was meant to expedite and accelerate the redevelopment and upgrading of those dilapidated schools.
“The matter is still being negotiated with the Federal Government and we are hopeful of achieving a positive outcome soon,” he said in reply to Paulus Palu Gumbang (GPS-Batu Danau) at the State Legislative Assembly sitting here today.
He said this was over and above the normal allocation made by the Federal Government through the five-year development plan.
This year the State Government spent RM123 million under the Chief Minister’s Special Development Fund to upgrade 155 dilapidated schools statewide in addition to the RM100 million Federal allocation, he said.
Meanwhile, the Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Ministry would embark on a public-private sector partnership, as well the engagement of anchor companies and agro parks to accelerate agricultural activities, especially in the hinterland.
Its Assistant Minister, Datuk Roland Sagah, in reply to Henry Harry Jinep (GPS-Tasik Biru) who queried if the State Government had any plans to create a development agency focusing on agriculture and tourism as a “food basket” in the “Bidayuh Belt” stretching from Lundu to Serian, said it had been identified as a durian belt due to soil suitability.