Saturday, July 24, 2010

Resolve Tamil school's land issue, NGOs urge PM

PETALING JAYA: Two NGOs have urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to resolve the land issue involving the SRJK (T) Sungai Salak Tamil school in Negri Sembilan. In a joint press statement today, Lim Lian Geok Cultural Development Centre's president Toh Kin Woon and his Tamil Foundation counterpart K Arumugam said the school deserved the six-acre land promised during the Bagan Pinang by-election last year.

“During the by-election, the government promised the school the land. After the election, the Education Ministry informed the Parent-Teacher Association that the school will share the space with the education department, effectively receiving only three acres.

“We find this appalling. This is clearly a breach of trust and we cannot help but to think that the promise was made to fish for votes. The school deserves to get the land as it caters mainly for poor Indian children,” they said.

Toh and Arumugam were responding to a report which appeared in the FMT on Wednesday.
In 2002, the Sungai Salak school was forced to close down when its land was used for a development project.

Following this, it shared the same premises with another Tamil school, SRJK (T) Springhill, till 2007 but was later evicted due to space constraint.

The school's PTA then convinced the Education Ministry to permit them to set up the school in a shoplot unit in Lukut. It has remained there to date.

'Be fair to all under 1Malaysia'
Meanwhile, the two NGOs also urged the government to hasten the building of Chinese schools as per the promise made before the 2008 general election, including the SRJK(C) Tun Tan Siew Sin.

“Though Putra Heights residents have submitted a petition of 1,200 signatures in January 2009, the ministry had ignored it,” they said.

Toh and Arumugam also urged the government to be fair in distributing allocations for building schools, and to provide adequate insfrastructural support and qualified teachers to all schools.

“Whether the school is built on government or private land, to categorise them as fully-aided and partly-aided is unconstitutional and discriminative in nature.

“We urge the prime minister to abolish such categorisation in the spirit of 1Malaysia. If it still exists, the 1Malaysia slogan will just remain a rhetoric,” they said.