See slams explanation on fuel shortage in rural schools

See Chee How

MIRI: Sarawak PKR vice chairman See Chee How slammed as ridiculous the explanation given by Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd that non-payment of over RM200 million by the

Ministry of Education for work done had caused the firm to be unable to supply diesel to power generators at rural schools in Sarawak.

Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd is the contractor for fuel supply to rural schools in the state.

“Do not hold the Ministry of Education and the 369 rural schools to ransom.

“That is exceedingly irresponsible and heinous,” he said when asked for comments on the latest fuel shortage affecting the schools.

“The price of diesel, as it stands for this week June 14 to 20, has remained at RM2.18 per litre and the price was lower than this for most of the past months.

“The RM200 million is more than sufficient for the contractor to supply all the 369 schools for 50 months!” he pointed out yesterday.

He questioned the rationale in the allegations that the Ministry of Education had not paid the company for the supply of diesel for the past four years.

“How much is Jepak Holdings charging the Ministry of

Education for the supply of one litre of diesel to our rural schools?” asked See.

A lawyer by training, See, who is also Batu Lintang assemblyman, said the company has its right to claim restitution and compensation over and above

the contractual sums, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the supply contract, but to stop the supply during the term of the contract is a serious breach.

He pointed out that it is the ministry’s right and the duties of the enforcement agencies such as MACC to examine and investigate into the allegation of inflated

prices and irregular or delay of supply of diesel, and implementation of power supply projects for rural schools in the state.

He hoped that the Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin will liaise with the Federal Ministry of Education to resolve this matter when the schools reopen in a week’s time as a stop-gap measure, and to work out a permanent solution to supply electricity to the schools for the long term.

“The Sarawak state government should undertake a study on the possibility to connect electricity supply to these 369 rural schools,

whether through the state power grid or through the supply of alternative renewable energy sources.

“As we embark on the plan to bring electricity supply to all Sarawakian families, the supply of electricity to our rural schools should be our priority.”

See stressed that education for children is amongst the biggest concerns for the government which should be over and above party politics.

He is optimistic that the federal and Sarawak governments will work together to find a solution to ensure regular and dependable power supply to all rural schools in Sarawak to enable teaching and learning in conducive environment.