Letter by parent and ex-student on SJKT Serdang classroom roof collapse

March 6th, 2012 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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Received the below from a forum member who is a parent of the student in SRJK(T) Serdang. So, who can answer his questions? Have “nambikai”?

 

SRJK(T) Serdang is located less than 1km away from Universiti Putra Malaysia and a mere 10 minutes’ drive from Putrajaya. The school was started in 1936 with one teacher and 40 students. The current enrolment is about 700 students and is one of the 132 fully aided schools from the total of 523 Tamil Primary schools nationwide. As a parent of one of the students of the school and as one of the former students from the same school, I would like to highlight the plight of the students and parents of the school, which also reflects the state of other Tamil Schools in the country.

[building launched in 1963]

[the same building in 2012]

Although the school is fully aided, we literally have to beg with the Education Department for everything, including the maintenance and repairing of the infrastructures of the school. At times, the PIBG will contribute some fund to do minor repairing works. The newspaper cutting above is from the year 1963, when the new building was officiated by the then Menteri Besar. The building was declared unsafe by JKR in 2002. Despite several appeals, the JKR never lifted their fingers and always come up with the standard answer “Tiada peruntukkan tahun ini” (No budget allocation for this year). It was a disaster waiting to happen and it duly happened at around 8am on the 16th February 2012.

The ceiling in one of the classes collapsed suddenly while lesson was going on and luckily, the teacher managed to bring all the students out from the class before it collapsed further, bringing down huge amount of debris. By God’s grace, no one was injured but the real drama started only after that.

The school is located is the Sri Serdang state constituency, under BN ( Datuk Satim bin Diman) and under Serdang Parliamentary seat, under PR. Datuk Satim, who won the seat by less than 50 votes in the last election, did not even bother to respond or visit. Meanwhile, politicians from PR were barred from entering the school compounds, as per one circular from the Educational Department in the 1990′s.

The school authorities contacted the respective departments and personnels. Datuk K Devamani immediately paid a visit, promised to build temporary cabins within two weeks for the students to study, with plans for another permanent building in future and bragged about the amount of money spent by BN in the past few years (in the region of few hundred millions at least) for Tamil Schools as well as some unrelated stuffs like ETP and etc. Some of my friends cheekily said that this a normal `Wayang Kulit’ show as he has no power to do anything. I realised it now that they were just telling the plain truth.

It is almost 3 weeks already and our children still don’t have classroom to use. Lessons are conducted at canteen and some empty space between buildings. The children are suffering due to hot weather and cannot concentrate on their studies. A lady officer from JKR visited the school recently and said that JKR is willing to build the new building but asked a funny question. `Siapa akan tanggung kos bangunan ini? PIBG atau LPS? (Who is going to bear the cost? PTA or The School Board?

Can someone tell this lady that this school is a fully aided school and it is the responsibility of the present government to provide the basic infrastructures? By right, we should sue your department for failing provide a safe building.

Some even suggested that we should approach the state government but I disagree. As far as I know, I have been paying taxes since 1993 to the Central Government under BN, just like all Malaysians so why the hell should I go around and begging people? Isn’t it BN’s duty to provide basic infrastructures as we pay tax to you? And don’t tell me that you don’t have enough money. 1% of the loan given to Sharizat’s family is enough to build a 3 storey building here. Imagine that this is happening to a fully aided school. How about partially aided schools? Don’t you collect taxes from them too? Why are you discriminating us, BN? The PM wants us to put `nambikkai’ (trust) on BN and I don’t have to give a better example on why we shouldn’t trust the BN government.

from: Gopal Thirumalai, via e-mail

This is the related article from The Star:

Partiban Muthusamy was at work when he received news that the ceiling of his daughter’s classroom had collapsed.

“Another parent called to inform me about the incident,” said the 42-year-old customer support executive who immediately rushed to the scene.

His seven-year-old daughter, Narmatha Partiban, was among the 29 Year One pupils of SJK (T) Serdang who were in the class when a portion of the ceiling suddenly collapsed at 8.45am yesterday.

Classroom panic: Premah and her pupils looking at the ceiling which had collapsed into their classroom at SJK (T) Serdang yesterday.

None of the pupils were injured in the incident.

Teacher Premah Ramasamy, 30, said she was conducting a Tamil lesson when the ceiling gave way, causing a huge pile of dust, debris and even bird’s nests to drop into the classroom, missing her and her pupils by inches.

“I panicked but managed to get all the pupils out of the class,” said a visibly shaken Premah, adding that a portion of the ceiling in another class also collapsed within a few minutes.

The school’s senior assistant for pupil affairs, Ganeswari Karuppiah, said a huge solid wood beam nearly fell on the pupils.

“We are thankful that nobody was injured,” she said, adding that the ceiling in many classrooms leaked whenever it rained.

Another parent, Anantha Rao, 46, said he was worried about the safety of his daughter who is in Year Four.

“We don’t know if it is safe to continue sending our children to the school,” he said.

Three of the affected classrooms have been cordoned off by the Fire Department, leaving 160 pupils without a classroom.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk S.K. Devamany, who visited the school, said he would ensure that the pupils were provided with temporary classrooms until a long-term solution was put in place.

He urged the Education Ministry to conduct an audit on the safety of Tamil schools nationwide as many of them were in poor condition.

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/2/16/nation/10747821&sec=nation

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