A truly ‘rotten’ school: Teacher falls to his death as floor gives way

Teacher Chan Boon Heng was looking forward to celebrating his 43rd birthday tomorrow.

He was also excited about his appointment as the team leader of examiners for UPSR.

A freak accident at the school this morning, however, left him seriously injured and the teacher of SRJK (C) Keat Hwa (K) in Jalan Seberang Perak, died of internal injuries at a private hospital at 11.10am.

The 72kg father of two was at the school’s office located on the first floor at 7.30am when the rotting wooden floor suddenly gave way, and he plunged five metres to the hall’s hard cement floor.

It is believed the floor of the school’s administration office is infested with termites.

Coincidentally, Chan, who was the form teacher for Standard Six H and taught Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and Mathematics, was there to use the photocopying machine to make copies of the Education Ministry’s letter on his appointment as the team leader.

Chan, of Taman Derga Jaya, was rushed to a nearby private hospital where he died of internal injuries.

His wife, Ooi Lee Keng, 40, who teaches at a private Chinese school in Bukit Pinang, was at his bedside with their daughter Chan Hua Shin, 8, who is studying at the same school and four-year-old son Chan Hua Wei.

Following the incident, Kedah Education Department officials inspected the affected area and ordered the area to be vacated immediately.

Kedah Education Committee chairman Datuk Azimi Daim ordered all schools in the State which have added wooden extensions to their multi-storey buildings illegally, to stop using the premises.

He urged these schools to report the extensions to the Education Department so that they could be inspected by the State Public Works Department.

The school’s Parent-Teacher Association chairman Dr Lim Sin Keat said termites had been a perennial problem but said they were unaware that it had affected the wooden extension which was used as the headmaster’s room and teachers’ common room.

He said the wooden extension which was built in 1992, appeared to be sturdy as it was covered with rubber tiles.

He said the school premises was cramped as it was shared by two private Chinese primary schools — SRJK (C) Keat Hwa (K) for the morning session and SRJK (C) Keat Hwa (H) in the afternoon.

He said the school, which was built in 1952, was made of cement except for the wooden extension.

“We are short of funds as we depend on donations.

“We hope to raise RM3 million and put up our own building but it is difficult to raise the money.

“We’ve repaired the stage on the ground floor hall located directly underneath the staff room as it was infested with termites but we didn’t know that the second floor was also affected.”

Chan’s body was taken to his home in Taman Derga Jaya.