Unsafe schools to be given priority by Education Ministry

The Education Ministry today assured that with regard to school allocations, priority would be given to schools identified as unsafe for occupation.

Its deputy minister Wee Ka Siong in responding to reports on such three primary schools in Tawau, said the ministry at its recent discussion on the matter decided to give priority to school buildings that were in danger of collapse.

“I think it’s just not in Tawau but elsewhere too, for instance, the authority of a school in Lahad Datu also met me just now to highlight the same issue,” he said at a press conference here.

Wee was earlier asked to comment on some buildings at Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Kukusan, SK Bahagia and SK Jambatan Putih in the Tawau district which had been confirmed by the Public Works Department (PWD) to be unsafe for use.

To ensure that such schools were given priority, Wee said these schools should get confirmation from the PWD or professionals on the unsafe condition of their school buildings and then inform the matter to the District Education Office and State Education Department so that it could be forwarded to the Education Ministry.

“Perhaps during the audit, the school buildings had not collapsed or were in no danger of collapse, but after that, the soil erosion got worse. So, we must get the competent authority to certify it. The bottomline is, these unsafe buildings are of priority to the ministry, to ensure the children’s safety.”

Asked whether the ministry considered transferring the students of such schools to other schools, Wee said it could be an option but the decision would depend on the professional report in each case.

Last week, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when visiting Limbang in Sarawak, announced that the ministry was considering appointing consultants to study the dilapidated conditions of schools througout the country.

Muhyiddin said from an audit carried out by the ministry on about 1,000 schools nationwide recently, about 600 of six per cent of them were categorized as dilapidated.

Wee today also handed over a cheque for RM3 million to the SJK (C) Chee Hwa board of governors after visiting the school site.

The allocation under the Second Economic Stimulus Package was given after getting approval for the school project from all the relevant quarters, including the local authority. The school will have 28 classrooms.

“I was briefed on the project and have asked the consultant to get the school ready by the year end if possible, from the original time-frame of 18 to 20 months.

“If it’s ready by the year end, it can start operating from the next school session and registration of students can take place earlier,” Wee said.

He also praised the Sabah government and said its action should be emulated by other states as it had consistently provided allocations to the national-type Chinese schools or SJK (C) and the mission schools.

He said the cooperation between the federal and state governments and the Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in developing the SJK (C) all this while should continue.

– Bernama