Ministry blacklists several builders


By YU JI

Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan.

KUCHING: The Education Ministry will blacklist several construction firms that have been unable to complete schools in Sarawak on time.

“I personally will make sure the contractors will never get any more projects from the Education Ministry ever again,” Deputy Minister P. Kamalanathan told a press conference here yesterday, responding to a question on the delayed SMK Singai and SMK Song.

SMK Singai was approved in the 10th Malaysia Plan over five years ago and was estimated at RM45mil. Its uncompleted state has been making news for years.

Kamalanathan said the new completion date would be end of next year at the earliest or early 2017 at the latest. A similar building timeframe has been set for SMK Song.

He said what remained of both projects would be re-tendered by the Public Works Department. “We are very disappointed for sure... In Sarawak, we have identified three or four contractors (to blacklist).”

The Deputy Minister is here this week for his quarterly meetings with the state Education Department. A new utilities committee within the state department would be set up, he announced.

The committee would meet by next week and its primary task is to identify all schools that face basic supply issues. A core component of the committee, Kamalanathan said, was Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB).

“There are 369 schools in Sarawak that still run on generators. Out of that, we have identified about 130 schools that can be connected to the state grid. We are trying to speed up the switching process. This is why SEB is so important. Their people will have to advise us on supply, and also on whether the targeted schools have the require infrastructure.”

The committee would also look into water supply woes, telephone and broadband Internet connectivity.

State Education Department director Rakayah Madon would chair the utilities committee, Kamalanathan said. In the state there are presently 1,265 primary schools and 187 secondary schools, with a student population of around 480,000.

Meanwhile, Bernama reports that the Education Ministry will ensure that the education sector in Sarawak be enhanced from time to time.

Kamalanathan said in this regard, he would be making frequent trips to Sarawak to ensure the education needs in Sarawak be met.

He said he would also be listening and bringing the requests from the state government to the attention of the higher-ups, so that the education sector in Sarawak would not be neglected.

“Every two to three months, I will visit Sarawak to look at the state’s education needs for the attention of the Federal Government,” he added.

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