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Speech by M.Kula Segaran in Merlimau on Saturday, 29th January 2011:

Why the long delay in building a new Tamil school in Merlimau?

As a follow up on our visit to Merlimau, today with local residents I made a visit to the local Tamil school. I gave a speech and among other matters are as follows:

SJKT Merlimau, Melaka was built some time in 1968. It was built on government land. The total area of the school is less than 1/2 acre. It lacks basic facilities like a field for the children and for other recreational activities.

The Merlimau area has more than 7 estates and the bulk of the workers are Indians. Together with Sdr Guna, Sdr Gandhi and local PR leaders we visited the area.

We received numerous complaints about the school lacking up to date facilities. We were indeed surprised to see that the school is exactly the same plank built school that it was as in 1968.

With such condition which is so uncondusive for studying, it is not surprising that the school enrolment has not been encouraging. Many parents prefer to send their children to national or other schools which have better facilities.

This lack of facilities has been known to the BN leaders but the problem remains unresolved till today. In fact, over 10 years ago, the local BN leaders had promised to rebuild a new school on a 2 acre land which will also have a field and some open space. But it was an empty promise.

At every election, in order to win votes, the locals would be promised that a new Tamil school would be built. With the upcoming by election in this area, the local MIC leaders are now playing the same music again.

The latest news to go around is that a sum of RM4 million has been set aside by the state government for the building of a new Tamil school in Merlimau. If the news is true, will it be another election gimmick to fish for votes only?

Building of a school is a federal matter and since when does a state government have to take over the responsibility? Before BN makes more promises, it should at least do two things:-

  1. Apologise to the Indian community for its failure to fulfil its past promises to build a new Tamil school.

  2. Explain the reasons for not fulfilling its promises

Nevertheless, we are here to push for the government to keep its promise.

Questions that need answers are:-

  1. Where has the land been identified for the building of a new school?

  2. Will the school have the best facilities for the children?

  3. What is the overall cost of building the new school and when will it be completed?

There are a total of 21 Tamil schools in Melaka. Out of this total, 11 schools are partially aided schools and are built on private land.

The Indian community has, over the last 53 years, been pushing the government to make all partial aided schools as fully aided. But the government has been giving unacceptable excuses.

One of the excuses is that it is costly to acquire private land and/ or impossible to acquire the land.

There is a specific Act of Parliament - the National Acquisition Act which allows for the acquisition of land for public use.

This act has been used many times before and we see no reason for the government's reluctance to do what is the easiest. The government should therefore stop finding excuses.

* M. Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman & MP for Ipoh Barat



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