S'wak wants to know why U-turn on loan repayment issue

KUCHING: Sarawak hopes to reach an agreement with the federal government on its offer of a RM1bil loan repayment to repair dilapidated schools in the state following Putrajaya's apparent U-turn on the matter.

State Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin (pic) said he planned to meet Education Minister Maszlee Malik as soon as possible to discuss the issue.

"I'm making an appointment to meet the Education Minister and I've prepared all the details," he told reporters after attending the Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus graduation ceremony here Wednesday (April 17).

Maszlee had said in February that the federal government had agreed that a RM1bil loan repayment from the state government would be used to repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak.

However, Manyin said the federal government later insisted that the RM1bil should be an "advance payment" on loans owed by the state.

"I do not know exactly what happened. The chief minister offered RM1bil as contra with our loan, and that amount of money would be spent in Sarawak (on dilapidated schools).

"At first, it was agreed by the Education Minister, who met the chief minister in February, but a week later they made a U-turn," Manyin said.

Asked if this would make future dealings with the federal government more difficult, he said this appeared to be the case but he was still hopeful of a positive outcome.

"I will be meeting the minister and making an appeal, because we have so many schools that are dilapidated.

"At the moment, we cannot do anything, but we are still crossing our fingers and hoping we will be able to reach an agreement," he added.


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