Floor caves in, teacher dies in fall

ALOR STAR: A teacher fell to his death when a decayed plywood floor of a two-storey school block in Jalan Kampung Perak here gave way.

Chan Boon Heng, who would have been 43 today, died of internal bleeding at a private hospital, four hours after the 7.30am incident at SJK (C) Keat Hwa yesterday.

He was on the second storey, about to photocopy a letter on his appointment as head of an examination panel, when the floor collapsed.

Stunned by the incident, the authorities checked the spot where Chan had stood and found that that portion of the floor was infested with white ants.

The school’s parent-teacher association chairman Dr Lim Sin Keat, 40, told reporters that the upper floor of the school was made of thick plywood and no one suspected that it would be eaten up by white ants.

TRAGIC END: Azimi (right) and other officials assessing safety at the school where the gaping hole through which Chan fell just metres above them in Alor Star yesterday.
He said they discovered the white ants only after the floor, where Chan had stood, was inspected.

Dr Lim said the staff room there would be moved to the library to facilitate repair work.

Chan, from Taman Derga Jaya, had just been appointed head examiner for the UPSR Chinese language paper.

He was due to attend a course in Kuala Lumpur this Thursday.

He leaves behind two children, aged four and nine, and a wife in her 40s who is a teacher at Bukit Pinang.

The school senior assistant Yeoh Hong Ting said Chan had served the school since 2000 and besides Chinese language, he also taught other subjects like mathematics and science.

State Education Committee chairman Datuk Azimi Daim visited the school yesterday.

He advised schools in Kedah which had carried out renovation or extension work on their buildings to get approval from the state education department or the Public Works Department.