SIMPANG RENGGAM: Six years ago the Government announced that millions of ringgit had been allocated for the building and refurbishment of Tamil schools nationwide.
Despite delays, now two of the schools in Johor, SJK(T) Ladang Tebrau in Johor Baru and SJK(T) Tun Dr Ismail in Simpang Renggam, have been completed.
However, they are just “while elephants” for almost 18 months now as they cannot take in pupils.
The parties involved, the project consultants, contractors, previous Barisan Nasional government and even politicians, are not doing anything about the situation and are instead blaming each other.
The school in Ladang Tebrau, costing about RM6.8mil, does not have the Certificate of Fitness (CFO) from the local authority.
The school in Simpang Renggam, built at a cost of about RM5.9mil, cannot open because there is no access road for about 150m between the school and the main road.
Despite many promises and visits from politicians from both Barisan Nasional and the Pakatan Harapan government, both schools are expected to remain closed and will not welcome students in 2019.
SJK(T) Ladang Tebrau Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) chairman Datuk B. Balamurali said the new school was just across the road and that the teachers and pupils have been admiring it since it was completed.
“We have tried our best but so far we have not received any positive results. The old school is about 65 years old and built when this area was an estate.
“This old school has experienced bad floods and even a recent electrical short circuit.
“Are they waiting for something bad to happen before allowing the move to the new school?” he asked, adding that the parents were upset over the delays.
He said the old school was only supposed to have 200 pupils but they had exceeded their capacity by having 400.
SJK(T) Tun Dr Ismail PTA chairman S. Kesavan said despite having a new school in town, a private van ferries 18 pupils to the old estate school about 17km away, in an oil palm estate.
The old school has 18 pupils, nine teachers and headmaster.
“Daily, the children have to wake up early to catch the van at 6am for the journey to school on a winding gravel road, he said, adding that a local businessman has been forking out RM1,800 per month for the past few years to pay for a driver to get the pupils to school as they did not want to lose the school in the estate.
He said most families from the estate have moved to the town area.
Kesavan hoped Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik, who is the local MP and who has also visited the school, would seriously look into the matter and resolve it fast.
“How is it that they get funds to build two new blocks with 12 classrooms, teachers’ room, canteen and hall but do not have the funds to build an excess road for 150m?” he questioned, adding that many parents were waiting to send their children to the new school which could accommodate about 250.
State Consumerism, Human Resources and Unity Committee chairman Dr S. Ramakrishnan, when contacted, said he was upset over the matter affecting the community.
He said the previous government had channelled funds to the School Administration Board (LPS) for the construction of the schools.
“Now the contractors and consultants who have received the money are not handing over documents to the relevant authorities.
“They claim they have submitted the documents but they are not showing us anything. I hope the Education Ministry or Prime Minister’s department will take those responsible for this fiasco to court,” he said, adding that people should not be playing politics when it involves education matters.