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    Updated on Saturday, March 9, 2002 8:08 AM

Student group wants goverment to preserve old school

Susan Loone,malaysiakini

8.Feb- Two student groups have come out in defence of parents involved in the SRJK (C) Damansara relocation issue, stressing the 70-year-old school should be maintained.

Malaysian Youth and Student Democratic Movement (Dema) international affairs secretary Jasmine Ng Fui Sung said the group was also not satisfied with the manner in which the education minister has handled the whole situation. "The education minister and his deputy should handle this matter in a sincere manner and meet up with the parents who want to maintain the old school," Ng told malaysiakini today.

"Although those protesting are of a minority group of parents, this shouldn't be used as an excuse not to meet up with them," she added.

Eleven Dema members and six students from the Federation of Peninsular Islamic Graduates (Gamis) visited the old school this morning.

These students, who are currently studying in Universiti Malaya, Universiti Putra Malaysia and Kolej Tunku Abdul Rahman, also met with parents whose children are studying at makeshift classrooms in a Chinese temple next to the school.

Stand off

The "tug-of-war" between the Education Ministry and parents over the temporary relocation of students from the Damansara school to SRJK Puay Chai (II) in Bandar Utama has been going on for more than a month.

The students were directed to move to the new school early this year when the new school term started. The ministry then sealed the old school, citing an unfavourable environment for learning due to over congestion and pollution from the new Sprint highway nearby.

As of today, the majority of 1,400 students have moved but some 60 pupils have remained behind and are adamant to stay put in the old school.

Deputy Education Minister Hon Choon Kim has urged the protesting parents to review their decision and transfer their children to the Puay Chai school, pending the completion of the new building promised them in Tropicana.

Parents have expressed fears that should their children were to temporary move to Puay Chai, a new school would not be built. In addition, there were rumours that the reason for the hasty relocation is because the old school site would be used for a development project.

Recently, the Education Ministry announced that the new building in Tropicana will be constructed within eight months with a Finance Ministry allocation of about RM9 million.

Jasmine said that Dema is urging the ministry to respect the minority's decision not to relocate to the new school because the matter can be resolved by rational discussions.


Meanwhile, Gamis secretary-general Mohammad Faisal Abd Rahman said that his group has carried out some research by meeting with parents and inspecting the new site proposed by the parents.

He added that they were shocked when they saw that the new school will be built near high voltage cables. "The site is also near a rubbish dump.

The unhealthy environment will definitely be harmful to students and their teachers," said Mohamad.

Mohamad said that the students groups want the education minister to explain why the old school which is situated in a safe environment had to be shut down.

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