Tuesday July 3, 2012
MIRI: Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi has voiced his unhappiness with the slow progress in repairing and upgrading of the 14 building blocks of SM Sains Miri.
“I am very unhappy with the work progress. I came to this school four times and my last visit here was in January. There’s little or no progress,” he said in a press conference after inspecting the repair works yesterday.
“I have heard that the contractor had applied for extension, but I leave that to JKR (Public Works Department) to decide,” he said, adding that although the project belonged to the Education Ministry, JKR was appointed to oversee and supervise all works.
Snail’s pace: SM Sains Miri principal Serina Sauni briefing Mohd Puad, who appears clearly unhappy about the upgrading work. Looking on is Sibuti MP Ahmad Lai Bujang.
“But whatever the JKR’s decision will be, I want all works to be completed satisfactorily by September,” he stressed.
Asked why the delay, Mohd Puad said the contractor claimed to have teething problems regarding the wiring part of the job.
“But I hope it is not a common excuse given when a project is delayed because at one time this SM Sains project even became an issue,” he said.
Mohd Puad was referring to a proposal to relocate the school to the newly completed SMK Tinjar when only eight of the school’s 22 blocks were still fit for use. The remaining 22 had problem with weak foundation and were slowly sinking.
The relocation proposal, however, was rejected by many parties including the local people’s elected representatives and parents.
As a result, the ministry set aside RM10.9mil to repair and upgrade the school.
The repair and upgrading work started in November and some of portions of the work were supposed to be completed two months ago.
“I hope this will not be a ‘sick project’. I want to see the whole thing done by September,” said Mohd Puad yesterday, as he vowed to come back to check on the progress “in good time”.
On ways to tackle dropout among students in Sarawak’s rural schools, Mohd Puad said his ministry planned to build more hostels complete with the necessary facilities.
He said after visiting rural schools in many areas in Sarawak he understood the students’ predicament if they stayed far from the schools.
On the recently completed RM50mil SK Long Bedian in Ulu Baram, Mohd Puad said: “We are considering implementing the system called ‘Komprehensif 9’ (K9), in which the school will be allowed to teach lower secondary classes despite its primary status.”
According to him, K9 is also being implemented in Kuala Lipis in Pahang for the Orang Asli community.
Once the programme was implemented, SK Long Bedian would be the first school in Sarawak to have such an education system, he added.