Saturday, December 14

Association in need of RM6 million to relocate SJK Chung Hua Bako

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Chan (fourth right) presents letter of invitation to Fatimah while Chai (centre) and others look on.

KUCHING: The Association of The Boards of Management of Aided Chinese Primary Schools for Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions is in dire need of RM6 million for the relocation of SJK Chung Hua Bako.

Its president Jonathan Chai said they had solicited over RM1 million thus far.

“We will be having a fund-raising dinner which is also to commemorate the 35th anniversary of SJK Chung Hua Bako. We are looking at bringing the total fund raised to RM2 million after the dinner,” he said when paying a courtesy call on Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah at her office here yesterday.

The association is inviting Fatimah to the dinner to be held at the school hall of SJK Chung Hua No 3 here on March 29.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is expected to be the guest-of-honour at the dinner. Chai said the brief meeting with Fatimah also touched on the needs for special classes and pre-schools at aided Chinese primary schools.

“We are thankful that Dato Sri (Fatimah) is positive and receptive of the needs. And we hope she will attend the function and also contribute to the relocation fund,” he added.

Organising chairman of the fund-raiser Rodger Chan said SJK Chung Hua Bako would be relocated to Samarahan where the Intan Complex is.

“The school will be built on a three to four-acre land donated by developer Berlian Stabil Sdn Bhd. The project comprises an 18-classroom block and a multipurpose hall estimated to cost RM6 million.

“We target to have the school commence classes in 2021. This means we need to have the earth-breaking by the second half of this year,” he added.

Chan, who is deputy president of the association, said at least 1,000 people were expected at the dinner, with 70 tables already been taken up as of yesterday.

While thanking the association for the invitation, Fatimah lauded the association for paying attention to having special classes and pre-schools at the 56 aided Chinese primary schools under its management.

She said many aided Chinese primary schools in the rural area had very high percentage of Bumiputera pupils.

By having pre-schools, she believed that Bumiputera children would be able to pick up the Chinese language rather than ‘having culture shock’ when they entered Primary 1.

“Our Bumiputera children will be at a great disadvantage if they enter Primary 1 without the foundation of preschool because the medium of instruction is Chinese.

“With pre-schools, they will have less difficulty. We will be there to support them,” she said, adding that the Sarawak government had announced a RM5,000 grant per pre-school per year.

Fatimah added that having Bumiputera pupils at aided Chinese primary schools also helped promote social harmony among the young ones.

“Preschool is a good time to build up the relationships among different races. Social harmony is the strength of Sarawak.”

On the results of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2018, Fatimah said: “It’s worth studying so that we can see the good practices which can be shared by all.”

She added that the culture of the school mattered while principals and teachers as well as students made part of the culture.

“I was with SMK Tung Hua and SMK Methodist before, the culture is very important. Culture means what happens in the school,” she said.

Seven of the 19 schools with school average grade of four and below in the SPM 2018 are from Sibu. They are SMK Sacred Heart, SMK St Elizabeth, SMK Methodist, SMK Tiong Hin, SMK Kwong Hua, SMK Jalay Oya and SMK Agama Sibu.