Press statement by ADUN for Bukit Gasing, Rajiv Rishyakaran on 15 February 2021:
The controversial Budget 2021 approved RM50.4 billion for the Ministry of Education, the largest allocation in the entire budget. The Education Ministry (MoE) has vowed to put each sen from the 2021 Budget for the maintenance and repairs of 10,223 schools nationwide, as well as towards the wellbeing of Malaysia’s school-going children.
But are these funds really reaching the schools that are in dire need of maintenance and upgrades?
I would like to highlight several issues faced by SMK Sri Utama which were brought to my attention by concerned parents. Among these include;
- The grounds in the school were sinking, leaving cracks between the wall and the ground.
- The water pressure of the school is so low that the toilets on the higher floors cannot be used because water cannot reach it
- The ceiling boards of the school were falling which puts students and teachers who walk by the area at high risk
- The electricity for the school is always tripping leaving the school in a totally non-conducive environment to study.
- The gutters of the school are falling out of shape, so the water will not flow properly and spill everywhere.
The common procedure to resolve a situation like this is that the school reaches out to the Ministry of Education and MOE should dispatch JKR to investigate the problems that school is facing. According to the school, they had reached out to MOE via the Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah (PPD) numerous times, however no action was taken. Clearly for the issue to reach this level of severity, the problem is not new but prolonged. In this case,I personally reached out to JKR and invited them to conduct a site-visit with me at the school, to which they obliged and are now looking into the matter.
However, it is still a long process ahead as said by Senior Education Minister Dr Radzi Jidin “schools must officially take note of the repairs needed at their respective schools and officially request for it from the ministry” in order to get their portion of the RM60,648 allocated per school.
Given that schools are not and have not been in session for almost a year, MOE should have taken the opportunity to repair and upgrade schools so as not to disrupt when schools are finally in session. Instead of sitting on their laurels and keeping mum, MOE should have taken proactive steps to ensure that all schools are maintained and especially not pose a safety hazard to students and teachers.
The last few months the government has announced a multitude of allocation aimed to assist students and yet nobody has seen or received a single cent of this. From the promised infrastructure and network upgrade nor the 150 000 laptops promised have been delivered.
On top of which, the government has withheld or re-directed MP allocations which would have been able to assist schools like SMK Sri Utama while awaiting funds from MOE. In my constituency alone, SMK Sri Utama is not the only school that needs financial aid for maintenance and upgrading. There are many schools in Petaling Jaya, being a very old neighbourhood, that are plagued by decaying roofs, electrical and wiring issues, structural damage and more.
I strongly urge MOE to walk the talk and show us the work that is being done and where the money is going. Don’t hide behind red tapes and excuses that the process takes time. These are long standing issues that have been highlighted over the years and ignored.
ADUN Bukit Gasing