SEVEN Tamil vernacular schools received their letters of award for infrastructure improvements earlier this week.
A total of RM100mil was allocated during the budget announcement in 2012, of which RM13mil was used for small improvements in 184 schools, while the other RM87mil was for larger projects in 39 schools.
Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan who gave out the letters to the school heads, said the negotiation process had been completed for 27 schools, including the seven, so far.
“For some of the projects, the schools have already taken possession of the land and begun work. Some are in the process of taking possession and work will start soon,” he said.
The seven schools that received their letters were SJKT Ladang Tun Dr Ismail and SJKT Ladang Tebrau, both in Johor; SJKT Changlun, Kedah; SJKT Regent Gemencheh and SJKT Ladang Jeram, both in Negri Sembilan; SJKT Ladang Kota Bahroe, Perak, and SJKT Ramakrishna, Penang. He added that the ministry had already spent RM165mil on these 27 schools and that this was more than 100% of the initial budget of about RM80mil.
“The reason for the cost increase was because of the geographical needs of these places,” he said, explaining that sometimes there were hills that needed to be cleared or ponds that would have to be filled.
“The Government is committed and wants to make sure that it fulfils its promises. That’s why we’re going ahead with this project to upgrade the Tamil schools,” he said.
Kamalanathan said that there had been a delay in handing out the letters of approval because the tender process took some time. “We also took some time to brief the companies on technical requirements,” he said, adding that each of the 39 contractors had to be briefed in detail during face-to-face meetings.
Another 40 schools have been named for allocations from the 2013 budget. He would start processing them once the work on the schools from the 2012 group had started.
Meanwhile at another event recently, Kamalanathan said six more Tamil schools in the country are set to commence with their refurbishment works. These six schools — SJK T Sarawasthy, Kedah, SJKT Mak Mandin, Penang, SJKT Ladang Semenyih, Selangor, SJKT Ladang Valdor, Penang, SJKT Ladang St. Helier, Negri Sembilan and SJK T Ladang Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur will receive either a new block or a new building on new premises. — By Jeannette Goon & Luwita Hana Randhawa
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