Tuesday, July 7

Poser over status of school’s new block

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KUCHING: Several parents of students studying in SK Opar in Bau are questioning the status of the school’s new one-storey concrete block which is supposed to have been fully completed and handed over to the Education Department in November last year.

This claim was made by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Mas Gading branch committee member Boniface Willy Tumek upon meeting the press on Wednesday.

The new block, which commenced construction in early 2009, was meant to house classrooms, a staffroom and an administrative area to provide an environment that would be more conducive for learning and working for the students and staff of the school.

Unfortunately, this was not to be the case as the occupation permit (OP) for the building had not been issued until today, thus depriving the students and staff of the school the opportunity to use the block this year, Willy said.

“Our sources also revealed that officers of the Education Department are not aware of the reasons for the non-issuance of the OP by the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba). It seems that only the contractor and the Ministry of Education are aware of the reasons for the non-issuance of the OP by Bomba,” Willy claimed.

He stated that it was common knowledge that one of the more common reasons for the non-issuance of OP for any building is that the building is not fit for human occupation, either because essential utilities like water and electricity have not been connected yet or certain aspects of the construction works did not meet the set criteria, therefore needing rectifications or remedial works.

He said the problem with the school’s new block should not be related to electricity or water supply as they were all available in Kpg Opar.

“Whatever they are, it now appears that the ministry had advanced knowledge of the problems associated with the construction and that problems were deemed to be serious enough that warranted a site visit by the secretary to the ministry and other senior officials of the ministry sometime in 2012.

“It also appears that the local wakil rakyat (people’s representative) for the area is aware of the problems,” he added.

Willy said that the students in SK Opar, the villagers and entire population of Mas Gading were deeply disappointed with the Education Ministry for its failure to ensure that school facilities in the area and elsewhere in the state were fully capable of meeting the full expectations of all who seek good education.

“It is obvious that the Ministry of Education has a very dismal record of negligence and unfulfilled promise in Bau district. The people in Bau still vividly remember the earth breaking ceremony for SMK Singgai, a secondary school approved for Bau but for which, during the material time, a tender has not even been called much less a construction contract awarded,” he said.