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KUCHING, March 31: The relocation of SJK (C) Chung Hua Bako and SJK (C) Kai Nang in Sibu has not been approved as claimed by the Sarawak Education Department.
Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen said the discovery was made when he inquire about the matter from his colleague Deputy Minister for Education Teo Nie Ching.
He said findings from Teo also revealed that the “Watikah Persetujuan Tapak Perpindahan Tapak” or relocation certificate for SJK (C) Chung Hua Bako allegedly signed and issued by the state Education Department which was published in numerous media outlets on May 6, 2018, was not an official document.
Chong said this finding seems fishy since the media coverage for the certificate was on May 6, 2018 which was three days before the general elections (GE14) polling date, which led him to believe that it could be an effort by some politicians to fish for votes during GE14.
“It was signed by the state Education Department on May 5, 2018. As we all know, May 9 was polling day, May 5 (it was) signed, then May 6 (the matter) came out in the papers, it was all over the news just right on time for polling.
“I’ve checked with the federal Education Ministry, the approval has not been granted for SJK (C) Chung Hua Bako, so this is not an approval. I don’t know what happened to the state education department,” Chong told reporters this morning.
Nonetheless, he gave assurance that Teo will get to the bottom of this as there was no time to waste on politicising the issue.
Chong said he had requested for Teo to look into the matter, and she agreed to help.
“She will be visiting the state Education Department on April 4 next week and meet with all the state Education officers to go through the documentations for both Bako and and Kai Nang (schools), so that whatever that is needed for the ministry at the federal level for the approval, all the documentations needed, are in order and are ready before submission,” he said.
Chong said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had even streamlined the application process to relocate Chinese schools whereby both relocation and school building plan applications could be submitted together so as not to waste time.
Previously under the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, he said schools had to apply to be relocated first, then upon approval only then they could apply for approval for the school building plan.
“So on April 4 Teo will be coming, and I call upon the Sarawak Education Department to prepare all the necessary documents and also the Board of Management of both Bako and Kai Nang (schools) to prepare all the necessary documents.
“All will be checked (by Teo) so that all are in proper order for the final endorsement at the federal ministry level,” Chong said. — DayakDaily