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Friday, July 14, 2017

The failures of the adult world

We are setting a very bad example for our next generation of Malaysians, by not putting children’s safety, health and learning environment as a priority.
SJK-(C)-Puay-Chai-2-in-Bandar-UtamaDue to the inactions of the adult world, it is 2,400 children at SJK (C) Puay Chai 2 in Bandar Utama who have to suffer in one way or another when the noise from a nearby construction site disrupts their learning environment.

A concerned parent, who accompanied her daughter to school whose health issue was giving her less sleep (therefore, too afraid to go to class for fear of being scolded for being late), managed to capture the noise from the construction site.
The video below would testify to what I write.
If you agree that the noise from the construction is bad enough, the piling work would have been a lot worse.
Another mother whose daughter had fallen ill and was feeling nauseous investigated the child’s complaint and realised that there was welding work done.
Three mothers went to the Selangor education department to highlight the complaint. I have also personally forwarded the video clip to Deputy Education Minister Chong Sin Woon while another former editor helped to forward the clip to another Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan.
With the help of several senior editors, Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid would have also received the video clip, else he can even view the video on Youtube now.
Neither Selangor education director Mohd Salleh bin Mohd Kassim nor his school management chief Nor Faridah Abu Bakar did anything to stop the construction. In fact, Salleh was at the school around the same time when parents complained that there were sparks and flue gas from the welding.
When contacted, Parent-Teacher Association chairman Loh Tian Hong said that they would discuss the matter during the progress meeting on Friday (two days later). After my strong reprimand, finally the headmistress, Pang Lai Cheun, moved some classes away from the construction site.
I was told that Pang called an urgent meeting with parents, but did not address the issue of the construction. Her first words to a parent who complained to her was: “The construction is not within my power.”
What baffles me is that Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) deputy mayor Johary Anuar who visited the site, said that the PTA representatives had agreed that there was no problem with the construction noise.
A letter to MBPJ Mayor Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain had also not been responded to. When I personally raised the issue to the Selangor state exco in charge of local government, Ean Yong and MBPJ councillor Tang Fuie Koh, I thought they would at least adopt a different attitude.
To my surprise Tang said that the construction was approved by MBPJ to build during the day to avoid complaints from the neighbourhood. This is at the expense of some 2,400 children whose learning environment has been disrupted.
Complaints raised with Subang MP R Sivarasa and Bukit Lanjan state assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong similarly fell on deaf ears.
The construction undertaken by the Board of Governors of SJK (C) Puay Chai 2 will only be completed around October or November.
I strongly urge its chairman Teo Chiang Kok and all the relevant authorities to take heed of parents’ complaints. Any major construction work should not be done during school hours.
When an untoward incident happens, or a child strays into the construction site, and he dies, the blame game will then begin and all fingers will be pointed at the dead child.
As a matter of fact, at the time of writing, I received an unverified message from a parent saying that some children had wandered into the construction site but was stopped by a teacher.
We are setting a very bad example for our next generation of Malaysians. At this point, I have no reason not to believe that ours is now a failed nation when children’s safety, health and learning environment is compromised by uncaring adults.
Stephen Ng is an FMT reader.

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