TANJUNG MALIM: Schools need to check their water tanks regularly so that an incident similar to what happened at SMK Melor in Kelantan does not happen again, says Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.
The Deputy Education Minister said regular maintenance work should be conducted to prevent any incidents that could lead to students being injured.
"The ministry is serious about the incident and is investigating it. The safety of our students is our top priority" he told reporters after conducting a groundbreaking ceremony at SK Tanjung Malim here on Wednesday (Aug 10).
"We want all schools to check their water tanks and do regular maintenance to avoid such incidents from happening again," he added.
Dr Mah was commenting on an incident on Tuesday where five SMK Melor students were injured after the school's water tank burst near a pedestrian area.
Four of the students were sent to Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital for treatment while another was sent to Klinik Kesihatan Mahligai.
It is learnt that one of the students had a head injury and received at least two stitches while another reported neck pain. The remaining three students were sent back home.
Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin had said on his Facebook page that the Kelantan Education Department has been instructed to carry out immediate repair and maintenance work to ensure that the infrastructure at the school is in good condition and safe to use.
Separately, Dr Mah said the ministry was always open to working with other ministries and government agencies to provide a safer learning environment for students.
"I can speak from experience. I used to take buses in the morning for 18km from my house to the school daily.
"There is nothing special about me and my school was located in a village, but I had the motivation to move forward, and so if I can do it, so can others," he said.
"I think it is important for all students, regardless where you come from; be it rural areas or not, to be thankful and to find the right motivation to learn and to go to schools.
"This doesn't only apply to students but also parents," he added.
In July, a video showing students in Keningau, Sabah crossing a river using a water pipeline to go to school went viral.
The 92-second video was posted by a Facebook user under the name Siti Hafizah Leezah, who said the people at Kampung Mansiang Baru, Keningau, Sabah had no alternative but to use the pipeline to go to school.
Dr Mah also congratulated the initiative taken by SK Seri Aman, Bedong in Kedah to provide small chairs for pupils during the school morning assembly.
"There are more than 10,000 schools under our care, so we definitely encourage parents, teachers and the community to help us.
"We see this as a great initiative by the school to provide a more comfortable learning experience for the pupils," he said.