Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong today refuted the notion that his ministry favoured SJK © Kheng Chee in a school relocation tussle in Puchong and said SJK (T) Castlefield has never applied for a move.
“I have checked with all relevant agencies in the Education Ministry (MoE) and found that Castlefield has never applied for the school reserve land in Pusat Bandar Puchong,” he said, referring to a 2.8ha land in Persiaran Indera, Taman Wawasan.
The land was sought after by Kheng Chee, a Chinese primary school which was endorsed by MoE recently to use the land. However, Castlefield, a Tamil primary school claimed they are the earliest applicant for the land.
Wee said Castlefield filed their application through District Land Office (DLO) in December last year; to which the MoE replied informing DLO that the land belonged to the ministry.
“So since the land does not belong to DLO, of course they would not give any approval,” he said at a press conference in MCA headquarter today.
“It’s just like you can’t arrange a marriage for your neighbor’s daughter, because she is not your daughter,” he quipped.
The MCA youth chairman also said Kheng Chee first applied through MoE in 2008, a year before Castlefield went to the state government’s agency.
“If you say the Tamil school has put in their application before Kheng Chee, and we give it to Kheng Chee, then it’s our fault,”
“But she (Teresa) was misleading the (Tamil) school management and instigating hatred between the Indian and Chinese community, that is very irresponsible,” he said.
Prasarana should compensate Castlefield
Wee also said that local authorities only come into the scene at the final stage when a school is about to start constructing its building.
The statement was made as response to Castlefield managment’s claim that they have submitted the school architectural drawings to MPSJ before Kheng Chee.
He pitied the Castlefield school management for not knowing the right procedures, but insisted that Teresa Kok as an experienced state exco member should have advised the school properly.
Meanwhile, he said the Education Ministry will weigh-in on the relocation of Castlefield as the school compound is bound to be encroached by the LRT extension project.
“Since Prasarana is the project owner, they should do proper compensations to the school,” he said, adding that the ministry will look into helping the school.
Komunitikini understands that every developer is duty-bound to surrender a handful of public amnesties lands to the land and mineral director-general office under Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for every development.
The office will then distribute the land to the relevant ministries accordingly, and lands meant for education will be made into school reserve land.
This, however, does not mean that all school reserve lands belong to the Federal Government as the developer can allocate additional utilities lands and surrender those to the state government.
State government, on the other hand, can also approve any parcel of land from its land bank to be made into a school.
In this case, the Persiaran Indera land was zoned as school reserve land by MoE in 1999.