Media statement by MP for Kulai, Teo Nie Ching on 7 January 2022:
Three weeks have passed, where is the allocation for schools badly affected by the floods?
Schools are reopening next week but are schools affected by the floods ready for reopening?
To find out for myself, I visited SJKT Karak in Pahang with the State Assemblyperson of Sabai, Saudari Kamache Doray Rajoo yesterday.
SJKT Karak is one of the most badly affected schools. The floods have had a severe impact on the infrastructure, facilities and furniture of the school.
The fences were ruined, lab equipment destroyed, fridge, bookshelves and cabinets need to be replaced. Yet, there is no indication when these repair work and replacement will be done by the government.
Not only that, the school was also troubled with flood stink. According to Sdri Kamache, Karak has recorded 1 death because of leptospirosis. Disinfection needs to be urgently carried out before the students return to school. In fact, it should have been done already.
To assist the school, I on behalf of DAP Johor donated RM5,000 to the school so that repair and restoration work can be carried out immediately while waiting for the allocation from the Ministry of Education.
However, SJKT Karak is not the only school which remains unsuitable and unable to reopen the following week to function optimally.
According to the statement of MOE dated January 3, 2022, 8 schools are badly affected by flood and not ready to operate, and SJKT Karak is one of them.
My question is, why are the repair and restoration works so slow?
It has been more than two weeks since the floods and we have not heard of any announced allocation with immediate effect to be channelled to these schools.
According to a reply from the Senior Minister of Education dated December 15, 2021 in Parliament, allocation for school maintenance for 2021 has yet to be fully distributed. There was a balance of RM11.68 million for SK and SMK, RM14 million for SJKC and RM8 million for SJKT.
More importantly, MOE also receives RM900 million for school maintenance under Budget 2022. Why has the money not been utilised on an urgent basis to assist badly affected schools so that the students can return to school as soon as possible?
Three weeks have passed, and the school community including teachers and parents need more proactive initiatives from the Ministry of Education. I appreciate the fact that the Minister has been involved in the cleaning process in SMK Bentong and a few other schools but he obviously has a more important role to play, i.e. to ensure all repairs and restoration work to be carried out without any delay.
The lack of urgent action even after being in the scene of the aftermath of the floods speaks abundantly of the lack of sincerity for restoration works to take place soonest.
Safety, security, and cleanliness is of paramount importance and these aspects cannot be compromised in a schooling environment. Urgent action is needed from the Minister to ensure that schools are restored to functioning conditions, safe for children and teachers.