Press Statement by YB Chong Chieng Jen:
The legal mechanism involving the RM1 billion allocation to repair dilapidated schools as suggested by the federal Ministry of Finance (MOF) are the constitutional treasury procedure for allocation of fund by Federal Government.
As the Chief Minister also holding the finance minister post of Sarawak, Abang Jo should know that the legal mechanism suggested by the MOF are the rightful legal procedure for any allocation.
The legal mechanisms suggested by the Ministry of Finance are as follows:
1.Sarawak Government first repay the RM1 billion loan owed to the Federal Government into the Consolidated Fund Account of the Federal Government.
2.From the Consolidated Fund Account, the Federal Government will then allocate the said sum for the repair of the dilapidated schools in Sarawak.
3.The contracts for the repair of the dilapidated schools must be awarded through open tender.
4.Priority will be given to the schools chosen by the State Government for repairs.
For Abang Jo or Michael Manyin to suggest other mechanism of allocation is tantamount to asking the MOF to do something illegal and unconstitutional.
The unlawful mechanism previously suggested by the State Government on the allocation of this RM1 billion fund are as follows:
1.The State Government identify the dilapidated schools and then award contracts for repair thereof.
2.The State Government will pay the contractors the total contract amount up to RM1 billion and thereafter the said sum will set off and deemed repayment against the loan owed by the State Government to the Federal Government.
Therefore, it is not the MOF who is holding up the allocation of the RM1 billion fund for the repair of dilapidated schools in Sarawak, but the unreasonable and unlawful demand on the part of Sarawak Government which is the cause of delay.
I am glad that finally, after unnecessary delay by the State Government for more than half a year, Abang Jo now admitted to the legality of the MOF’s suggested procedure and agreed to comply with it.
As such, I urge the State Government to promptly make the RM1 billion repayment so that the MOF can proceed with the allocations for the repair dilapidated schools in Sarawak.
Any delay on the part of the State Government to make the repayment will not only further delay the repair of such schools, it will also give the public impression that the State Government have liquidity problem in making such payment.
Chong Chieng Jen
PH Sarawak Chairman