THE state government is still waiting for consent from the federal Education Ministry to connect 113 schools with electricity using state funds.
Assistant Education and Technological Research Minister Dr Annuar Rapaee said the schools were among 357 in the state which still relied on generators for electricity.
“During the Teachers’ Day celebration this year the Chief Minister announced an allocation of RM50mil to connect 113 schools to the grid.
“The schools are not connected yet because we are still waiting for consent from the Education Ministry,” he told Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu during question time in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly.
Dr Annuar said the state Education, Science and Technological Research Ministry wrote to the federal Education Minister on Aug 8 and received a reply on Oct 24 asking whether the RM50mil was a grant and whether there were any obligations to the federal ministry for the funds.
“This is not a grant to them, it is money committed by the state government.
“We replied a week later and now we’re waiting for them to give us consent to connect these 113 schools with electricity supply,” he said.
Meanwhile, Assistant Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin spoke about the proposed RM1.6mil Brooke heritage project at Mount Serembu, which had been identified for implementation in the third rolling plan of the 11th Malaysia Plan with federal funding.
It had since been put on hold pending a revision of priorities by the new Pakatan Harapan Federal Government.
Lee said his ministry was currently pursuing the status of the project with the federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.
“We hope the federal ministry will not cancel the project as the estimated cost is only RM1.6mil.
“In the event that it is cancelled by the federal ministry, we will look into the possibility of the state government funding the project,” he told Serembu assemblyman Miro Simuh.
Lee said Mount Serembu was the site of the earliest settlement of the Serembu Bidayuh about 300 years ago.
James Brooke, Sarawak’s first White Rajah, was said to have been attracted by the Bidayuh longhouses on the mountain and built a cottage above the settlement between 1848 and 1850.
“I agree that this is a tourism product with great potential and should be pursued.
“The main components of the proposed project consists of a tourism information centre, souvenir shop, handicraft gallery, and lookout point.”
It will also involve the upgrading of a bamboo bridge, boardwalk and stairs, rest huts, signs and public toilets, said Lee.