Baru suggests tapping state’s reserve to repair schools
Posted on November 21, 2013, Thursday
THE state government is urged to use funds from its RM22 billion reserve to address the critical needs of rural schools in the state.
“There is nothing to be proud of, and actually it is downright embarrassing to keep proclaiming Sarawak as one of the richest states and is set be the richest state by 2030, if we cannot even provide basic education facilities for the children of Sarawak,” said Ba Kelalan assemblyman and state PKR chairman Baru Bian when debating the state budget yesterday afternoon.
He noted that many rural schools in the state were in disrepair, without access to piped water or electricity. He expressed his disappointment that no special allocation was made for them in the Federal 2014 Budget despite the Federal Budget acknowledging that schools in Sarawak were most in need of repairs.
“I am aware that education is under the purview of the Federal Government and that not all the schools are in a dire straits, but perhaps since we have proudly declared that we have a very healthy financial status, education should be one of the areas that the State Government should come along side to assist as and when the need arises,” he said.
The assemblyman also added his support for earlier calls made by BN assemblymen in the august house for the police to investigate the growing problems of drug and online gambling in Central and Northern Sarawak.
He expressed his concern over the recent arrests of four Lun Bawangs in Indonesia for possession of huge amounts of drugs and who are now being held in Nunukan.
He urged the police to be more proactive and take precautionary measures against drug related offenses, particularly in towns which are close to the border with Indonesia.
Baru also urged the state government to make good on its promises and ensure that development projects would not fail.
Among the projects he highlighted which have failed to live up to their promise are the Lawas hospital which is still operating out of rented shoplots, solar system projects in Long Semadoh Neseb and Long Sukang which have yet to be commissioned, the malfunctioning RM3 million water treatment plant at Buduk Nur and the RM6 million wind turbine project in Bario.
“The total cost of these two projects (the Buduk Nur Water Treatment Plant and this Bario Windmill) of about RM10 million, could have been utilised for the construction of teachers quarters, hostels and school buildings in the rural areas of my constituency which are in dire need due to lack of allocation from the Federal Government as I had pointed out earlier,” he pointed out, seeking explanations from the relevant ministers and agencies over these projects
Baru also praised the statements made by state leaders on both sides of the political divide including the Chief Minister in disagreeing with the Allah ban especially for Sarawak.
Later, Baru tabled two motions, both of which were denied by house speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar mainly on technical grounds.
The first was to propose an amendment to the definition of ‘Native Customary Land’ in the Sarawak Land Code to include the reserved forests area (pulau galau) and communal land (pemakai menoa) to reflect recent Federal Court rulings recognising these two areas and recommendations made by a recently released Suhakam report pertaining to native land rights issues.
The second motion was to debate and put forward recommendations made by Suhakam in the same report to set up a Land Tribunal or Commission to solve issues related to NCR.
Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How was seconder on both motions.
Later during a press conference, Baru said that they were not surprised that both motions were denied but would try to bring up the issues during See and Krian assemblyman Ali Biju’s debates.