By Peter Boon
SIBU: The Ministry of Education (MoE) has given directive to the 371 schools in Sarawak, relying on diesel genset for power supply to directly purchase their own fuel.
Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee, who disclosed this, said the move was following the withdrawal of sub-contractors supplying fuel to rural schools effective from next Monday (July 16).
“The directive from MoE was issued recently for headmasters/principals or district education officers (PPDs) in that particular area to directly purchase the fuel.
“Hopefully, with this directive, there should not be any blackout or power interruption from next Monday onwards that can disrupt the teaching and learning process,” he told The Borneo Post when met after making Gawai visit to five longhouses in Nangka constituency this afternoon.
Dr Annuar, who is Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health was asked on to comment on The Borneo Post’s article that sub-contractors supplying fuel to rural schools were pulling back as they claimed that they have not been paid by Bintulu-based main contractor Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd since March this year.
One of the sub-contractors stated in the letter that they were withdrawing with effect of July 16 as the expenses were too high.
MoE intervened last month after the issue was reported on June 14 by The Borneo Post, saying it would ensure that the State Education Department has been instructed to take the necessary steps for immediate purchase of the fuel.
Dr Annuar, who is Nangka assemblyman, believed that depending on genset for power supply is not a long-term solution for these schools.
In this regard, he reiterated that several schools near to power grid have been identified for electricity connection in stages to enjoy a more stable and continuous power supply.
“As I have mentioned before several schools have identified that they should not be using gensets anymore (for power supply) because they are located just few kilometres from the power grid,” he added.
Meanwhile, the five longhouses he visited were Rh Manjah, Rh Agnes, Rh Jok, Rh Melissa and Rh Sebastian.
He also gave out Minor Rural Project (MRP) grants to these longhouses.
There are 34 longhouses in Nangka constituency.