Hisham to help teacher’s kin

KUALA LUMPUR: Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said he will personally help the family of teacher Chan Boon Heng, who fell to his death early this week.

“Assistance does not have to come from the ministry. It can come from me. I have never been stingy when it comes to teachers who are sincere and committed,” he told reporters here yesterday.

“It doesn’t matter what their race is or where they come from as they died in the course of duty,” he said after opening an international colloquium on Education Assessment organised by the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate.

Chan fell to his death when a termite-infested plywood floor of the two-storey SJK (C) Keat Hwa in Alor Star gave way on Sunday.

“What happened was a tragedy. I am sad and very disappointed that one of my teachers, who was dedicated, committed and loved by students and parents, has died.

“I will meet his family to see how they are doing. There are many ways to assist them and mark my words, I will help them,” he said.

Hishammuddin said the school authorities, from its headmaster to the school board as well as his own ministry had to be accountable as an extension of the building was built illegally.

He said there would be an allocation under the Ninth Malaysia Plan to upgrade old and rural schools which have substandard infrastructure.

“We have to prioritise. There are even fully-aided schools which are entirely under my jurisdiction that do not have basic amenities,” he said, adding that the safety of students and teachers were top priority.

At another function in Kuala Lipis, Pahang, Hishammuddin said the Government could not meet development requests from all schools in the country although his ministry has asked for RM1.14bil under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

He said while more new school blocks and laboratories should be built, many schools in remote areas were still without basic amenities such as water and electricity.

More than half the national schools in rural areas, he noted, lacked power or water supply.

“We want to ensure that all schools, especially those in the rural areas, have the basic necessities first,” he told reporters after attending the opening of SK Betau.

“At the same time, we also want to concentrate on increasing training for teachers and constructing new schools and special education schools by 2020,” he said.