Schools along Sarawak riverbanks to be relocated

SK Kampung Buda in Spaoh, in Betong collapsed into the Saribas River in 2016.

By Emma Victoria

A total 260 schools in Sarawak located along riverbanks will be moved to higher ground as they are prone to flooding during every rainy season or after a heavy downpour.

Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Datuk Amar Michael Manyin said the state government will focus on the relocation of these schools after the the rehabilitation of dilapidated schools.

“We must relocate these schools as there is no point to fix them after they were hit by floods (as the same thing will happen again during the next heavy rain),” he said.

“It is also a waste of money to upgrade them despite some having been categorised as dilapidated schools,” he said.

He was speaking the reporters after attending the opening of the inaugural International Conference on Innovative Sciences and Technologies for Research and Education at Universiti Teknologi Mara, Samarahan campus yesterday.

“The relocation of these schools will take a few years’ time as to identify suitable sites and getting approval from the Land and Survey Department needs about one to two years.”

Manyin said the state government will channel another RM300 million to the federal Ministry of Finance as the cost of rehabilitating 55 dilapidated schools.

He said the state government had already channelled RM700 million in two tranches to the federal government under an RM1 billion agreement between the state and the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government for fixing dilapidated schools in the state.

He hoped that more dilapidated schools would be fixed with the allocation under the federal Budget 2021.

He said more than half of the over 1,020 schools categorised as dilapidated have been repaired or replaced with new buildings.