Concrete jetties needed for schools in Semporna islands, says Sulabayan rep

KOTA KINABALU: The Education Ministry must consider building proper concrete jetties for students and teachers commuting to 11 schools on islands in Sabah's east coast Semporna district, says an assemblyman.

Sulabayan rep Datuk Jaujan Sambakong said that such facilities should be part of the facilities provided for schools on the islands as boat transport was the only means for islanders.

"I am asking the government, especially the Education Department, to build concrete jetties or bridges specifically for the use of pupils, students and teachers who teach in the islands in the Sulabayan constituency.

"The Sulabayan constituency has 11 primary schools and one secondary school and they are all located on the islands," Jaujan said in response to an incident on Monday (Jan 30) where 25 primary and kindergarten pupils fell into the sea when a village jetty collapsed at Pulau Pababag.

Two sustained light injuries and all of them were hauled up to safety by teachers and villagers during the jetty collapse incident.

The pupils were heading to the school when the mishap happened.

Jaujan, who is Parti Warisan vice-president, said that the schools around the island in the Semporna parliamentary constituency need to be equipped with better piers for the comfort of the pupils, students and teachers.

He said many teachers go back and forth from the islands to Semporna town on the mainland due to insufficient accommodation facilities on the islands.

"There is no problem with the existing piers in the villages, but it is appropriate that a concrete bridge or pier be built especially for the use of pupils, students and teachers only.

"The bridge that collapsed recently was a village bridge and was used by students to go to school on the other side of the Pababag island as there was a lack of road network within the island.

"I hope the relevant ministry will seriously consider building a concrete jetty and bridge like other basic school infrastructures built on the mainland," he added.

He also said that Warisan was helping the villagers of Kampung Pababag to rebuild the collapsed village jetty through a gotong-royong.

"Only the part of the bridge that collapsed needs to be repaired," he added.

The Education Ministry on Monday said that they will be discussing with local authorities to build safe jetties for the school children to use.

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