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Penang government disagrees with abandonment of new SJK(T) Sungai Bakap, says Ramasamy

Publish date: Fri, 24 Mar 2023, 09:07 AM

GEORGE TOWN: Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy has expressed disappointment over the Penang Education Department's decision to discontinue construction for the new SJK(T) Sungai Bakap.

He said the project cannot be abandoned after it received an allocation from the federal government.

"It comes as a big disappointment and extreme frustration that the state Education Department decided to discontinue with the building of the new SJK(T) Sungai Bakap," he said on Facebook.

Ramasamy said, originally, the school was allocated about RM3.5 million from the federal government for a new school on land which was earmarked for this purpose.

The present SJK(T) Sungai Bakap is situated on private land. The trustees of the school estimated that the costs of the new school would be about RM15 million.

He said it was on this estimated budget that construction commenced lately.

"However, what was approved by the federal government was not sufficient to complete the school. To date, only a certain portion of the new school has been built.

"Due to the lack of funds, the construction of the school has been temporarily stopped. Just because funds are not forthcoming from the federal government, there is no way that the construction of the school should be stopped.

"The state Education Department should not advise the parents to send their children to other nearby schools. This is nothing less than shirking the responsibility of the government," he added.

Ramasamy said methods to raise funds for the construction of the new school were discussed at his recent meeting at the existing SJK(T) Sungai Bakap.

He said among the matters raised was for private funding for the new school if the federal funding was not forthcoming.

"While the teachers, parents and trustees of the existing school are thinking out-of-the-box for the construction of the new school, the state Education Department wrote a premature letter to the headmaster informing him of the non-possibility of building the new school.

"This letter, which was written by the deputy director on March 22, 2023, informed the school headmaster that the new school might not be a reality. He advised the school to send students to other nearby Tamil schools in the vicinity.

"The letter from the state Education Department is a premature and irresponsible one. It is not for the department to decide on the non-possibility of the new school."

Ramasamy said there are other ways to resuscitate a school project, which has begun, and this was only a matter of raising additional funds for the school.

He said the land had been allocated and the foundation had been laid. He questioned how the state education authority could give up on the project.

"The Penang government is not agreeable to the abandonment of the new school.

"If funds are are problem, then there is a need to think of ways and means to raise the required funds. If SJK(T) Rajaji stands the chance of building a new school with private funds, why should SJK(T) Sungai Bakap be victimised?" he asked.

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