Twist in BN’s land promise for Tamil school

By G Vinod and B Nantha Kumar. Free Malaysia Today

LUKUT: A Tamil school, which operates from a double-storey rented shoplot here, was promised land by Barisan Nasional during the Bagan Pinang by-election last year. But the story has now taken a twist.

A member of SRJK (T) Sungai Salak’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) said despite the initial promise of six acres, a new school building is now being constructed on a three-acre site.

“During that time (the by-election), another Tamil school SRJK (T) Kem Askar Melayu was awarded a plot of land worth RM1.8 million to build its own school.

“But for some reason it did not want to move. So we urged the state government to give the land to our school,” explained the parent, who wished to remain anonymous.

According to him, a pro-government group called MyNadi had helped them secure the land during the by-election period.

“We actually spoke to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s aide then and the matter was later raised with the PM and we received the land,” he said.

The parent added that the six-acre plot was allocated on condition that both Sungai Salak and Kem Askar Melayu Tamil schools merge.

However, the latter opted not to merge and the Sungai Salak Indian community was delighted thinking that their school would get the land.

“But our hope was dashed. In September 2009, the Education Ministry sent a letter informing us that the school would have to share the land with the new District Education Department,” he said.

The Education Ministry also promised to find another three acres in the near future for the school.

“But our question is, why wasn’t the six-acre plot given to us when it was gazetted for two schools?” asked the parent, who hopes that the government would clear the air on this matter.

‘Cannot become a fully-aided government school’

The parent pointed out that by erecting the school on a three-acre land, SRJK (T) Sungai Salak would not qualify to become a fully government-aided institution.

“The government’s requirement is that a school must be built on a minimum of five acres in order to qualify to become ‘sekolah kerajaan bantuan penuh’ (fully-aided government school).

“Right now the new premises is being erected on a three-acre site. I don’t know if we still qualify to become a fully aided government school,” he said.