SIBU: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday visited SMK Rosli Dhoby – a boarding school classified as Category 3 dilapidated school (DS3) before proceeding to SK Ulu Sungai Salim.
The state Education Department classifies schools under DS3 as those that are old and rundown, more than 50 years old, with buildings certified unsafe by the Public Works Department (JKR), built of wooden structure, with unstable structure and with 75 per cent of their building blocks dilapidated.
At SMK Rosli Dhoby, Zahid saw for himself the appalling condition of the wooden hostel, which houses 43 male boarders and has been attacked by termites.Ahmad Zahid later visited the girls’ hostel, which is still in good condition and houses 98 boarders.
The Deputy Prime Minister was later briefed on the school’s three-storey classroom block, which had been vacated as JKR had certified the building as unsafe.
Ahmad Zahid also took time to mingle with the students and teachers. He also visited the centre for children with special needs in the school.
Among those in his entourage were Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid; Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong; Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research Dr Annuar Rapaee; Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research permanent secretary Datu Sudarsono Osman; state education director Rakayah Madon and Sibu Resident Hii Chang Kee.
Ahmad Zahid arrived in Sibu on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, SMK Rosli Dhoby principal Tan Tie Muan said the three-storey building had been vacated since early January due to cracks in certain portions of the structure. He said JKR had informed the school through a letter in early January that the building should be vacated.
“In July last year, JKR came in and carried out the first inspection and concluded that the building could still be used. But then, in early January this year, they took photographs and carried out analysis and decided that the building could no longer be used,” he added.
He said the building previously housed 10 Form 5 classrooms, while the ground floor was used for ERT (Ekonomi Rumah Tangga), cooperatives, a special room and self-access learning centre.
“We had relocated the students to some other blocks. Hence, starting this year, the Form 1 and Form 2 classes have been shifted to afternoon session. So, we still have to operate double-session,” he said.
Tan said the school had submitted JKR’s reports, including photographs of the vacated block, to the Ministry of Education (MoE). The school was built in 1974 and currently has a student population of 1,067.