Kampar tragedy parents to sue amidst negligence reports

November 7th, 2009 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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As starling information (still unverified by the official investigation team) is revealed by PR led team, the parents of the deceased children are going to sue the relevant people for about RM100 million.

Perak ADUN Sivanesan’s law firm will handle the case. The defendants are : SJK (T) Mambang Diawan, SJK(T) Gopeng, the Kinta Selatan district education office, the Perak Education Department, the Education Ministry, the commandant of the 1Malaysia camp, the sponsor of the bridge, the contractor who built the bridge and the Malaysian government. The fathers will file the suit on behalf of the deceased.

According to Sivanesan:

“The parents are furious at the Perak state education department deputy director Muhammat Roli Hassan for his statement in Berita Harian today,” said Sivanesan.

“He was quoted as saying parents have signed letters of undertaking that they will not hold the school and the education department responsible for any untoward incidents during the course of the camp,” said Sivanesan.

“This letter of undertaking is like writing on a piece of toilet paper which has no legal basis but is used to frighten parents from holding the authorities liable,” he pointed out.

“This is utter nonsense in the eyes of the law as the negligence was not caused by the children but by the authorities and as such they are liable to pay for the unnecessary deaths of the three young innocent children,” he said.

The PR investigation committee, headed by assemblyman and ex-Speaker Sivakumar, made these “findings” after interviewing the affected parents and pupils of the camp:

1. The first, he stressed, was that no teachers were present to supervise the crossing of the primary school children at the time of the incident. [this is a very serious accusation. Someone could be imprisoned for this!]

“Initially, there were only three teachers supervising the children from SK Kuala Dipang walking along the suspension bridge across the Kampar River to the camping area.

“The rest of the 22 teachers who were supposed to be overseeing the entire group of 294 pupils were having a meeting at the school building,” he said.

“Even the three teachers vanished and there were no teachers present during the fateful crossing of the 22 pupils when the bridge collapsed,” he added.

2. Meanwhile, Sivakumar said the 22 children were not wearing life jackets when they started to cross the bridge and the life jackets were thrown to the victims only after the bridge had collapsed.

This was revealed to Sivakumar by M Sarveswaren, the 12-year-old brother of deceased Davadharshini, who was also a camp participant.

3. Sivakumar also revealed that the directive was that only six children are allowed on the bridge at any one time.

However, without the supervision of the teachers, the 22 pupils went on the bridge at about the same time and the bridge gave way.

Sivakumar also lauded the three teachers – two males and a female – who jumped into the river to save many of the 19 children.

4. “The death of both Standard Five pupils Dina and Davadharshini is ironic as both were not in the original list of Standard Six pupils picked for the camp after the UPSR examinations. [So, students were skipping final exams to attend a camp??? This is too much!]

“Both were supposed to sit for their class examinations but instead were roped in at the last minute,” he said.

5. He added that the parents of the dead pupils were not properly briefed on the outing, but merely told to sign letters of indemnity with a footnote stating that the school or the Education Department shall not be held responsible for any untoward incident at the camp. [this is common la…]

As deceased Dina’s father Nathan, 44, was absent, her mother Mohana, 36, who is an illiterate, simply placed a thumb-print on the consent form.

As for Davadharshini, her mother Nagarathana, 41, also signed the form without knowing where her daughter was being taken to.

6. The ill-fated bridge was allegedly not approved by the local authorities and was illegally built in haste for the 1Malaysia camp. [another serious allegation, but why we are not surprised to hear this]

This is the information the committee received from the Land Office and Kampar Municipal Council that both the sponsor and contractor are based in Kuala Lumpur.

According to assemblyman Chang, the district officer and his deputy had told him that before any structure is built, plans have to be submitted and approved by the council.

The council will then forward the building plans to the fire, health, drainage and irrigation and environment departments for their joint approval.

Chang said he had learnt from the authorities that when federal projects are implemented at the district level, the norm is to bulldoze the project through without consulting and without the local authorities’ approval.

We have to wait till next week for the Education Ministry’s report to compare the findings. It seems Public Complaints Bureau may initiate investigation pending approval from PM Najib, says Senator Murugiah.

BTW, still no news from the contractors involved.

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