Flood-prone schools to be relocated

SK Long Bemang in Miri is one of several schools that are plagued by flash floods in Sarawak.

KOTA SAMARAHAN: A total of 260 flood-prone schools located along riverbanks in Sarawak will be relocated to higher ground, said state Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Amar Michael Manyin Jawong.

He said the relocation process, which is separate from efforts to upgrade and repair dilapidated schools, would take some time as the new sites must be approved by the Land and Survey Department.

“There is no point in upgrading schools located by the riverbanks because every year, the schools are flooded by the overflow from the rivers, ” he said after attending the International Conference on Innovative Sciences and Technologies for Research and Education (InnoSTRE) Special Edition 2020 at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) campus.

On dilapidated schools in the state to be rebuilt under the RM1bil contra loan payment agreement between the Federal and state governments, he said RM700mil had already been paid to the Education Ministry for these projects.

“We still have a balance of RM300mil and the amount is for upgrading and renovating 55 schools and also some new buildings, ” he said, adding that the money would be issued to the Education Ministry by next month.

Manyin said the RM1bil loan would be able to cover more than 50% of the dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

He believed that under the national Budget 2021, the number of dilapidated schools in the state could be reduced.

“We are happy with the allocation in Budget 2021 but we still do not know how much we will be getting from the RM725mil meant to upgrade 50 dilapidated schools in Sabah and Sarawak, ” he said.

On an initiative to build computers laboratories in all 1,265 primary schools in the state at a cost of RM12mil, he said although expensive, the computers in the labs would have better specifications.

He said the initiative is to reduce the digital gap between rural and urban schools and also to make computers more accessible to everybody.

He said Sarawak Information System Sdn Bhd, a state government-linked company, would lease these computers to schools, with the contract covering training, distribution, installation, maintenance and warranty for three years. — Bernama

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