Thursday, 31 July 2014

Outcry over bid to relocate school


MALACCA: A STORM is brewing in the state following a plan by the state administration to relocate the historical city’s oldest school, the Malacca High School or SMK Tinggi Melaka.

This is the second time in over 20 years that the state government had proposed for the relocation of the country’s second oldest school, established in 1826.

The first attempt in 1993 to move the school out of Bandar Hilir, together with two other schools — St Francis Institution and the Sacred Heart Convent — failed after strong opposition from the students and the schools’ alumni.

State Education, Higher Education, Science, Technology, Green Technology, and Innovations Committee chairman, Datuk Md Yunos Husin said there was a need to relocate Malacca High School to ease the traffic congestion in the state.

“This is to provide a better traffic flow. The school, located in the city centre, is densely packed with people and vehicles, causing major traffic crawls.”

He said the state government was in the midst of identifying suitable alternative sites.

“What is certain is that we will find a site suitable for the students and motorists,” he said.

The state government, however, must first get feedback from the school’s management, alumni and Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) before the plan can proceed.

On July 17, the Education Ministry’s Planning and Policy Research Division had urged the State Education Department to seek the consent of the school’s management, alumni and PTA on the proposed relocation plan.

Various parties, especially students and teachers, had objected.

The school’s chemistry teacher, Lim Ming Hui who has been
attached to the school for 24 years said, she was confident that
the relocation would not materialise.

The school, she said, was a part of the state’s history and was in the Unesco World Heritage site buffer zone.

“The school is something very precious to us. There is no way we will allow the school to be relocated elsewhere.

“We also have several powerful figures from the Malacca High School Old Boys Association who strongly oppose this,” she said.

A member of the school’s alumni, Joeal Lim Guan Chin, 24, expressed his disappointment at the idea of a relocation.

“This is not good because the school itself is part of the state’s history; it should not simply be moved for the sake of development.”

MHS, the second oldest Government English school in the country, was first known as Malacca Free School, and changed to its present name in 1878.
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