(Penang, Wednesday): Gerakan must dare to be different from MCA or it should not undermine the increasing national support for the “win-win” formula of retaining original Damansara school and building a new school with ridiculous proposals like the conversion of the old school into a hall.
The Gerakan national leadership has dashed the hopes of the National Campaign To Defend Original Damansara School And Build A Second New School in a matter of 24 hours, from the first announcement on Monday quoting the Gerakan Deputy President Datuk Kerk Choo Ting as declaring that the Gerakan would support in Cabinet and government the preservation of the original Damansara school and the building of a new school in Tropicana, Petaling Jaya to the report yesterday that by preserving the original Damansara school, the Gerakan meant converting the original site into a hall to be used for recreational activities by the villagers in Damansara New Village to respect their traditional ties with the 70-year-old school.
This is most ludicrous and shocking as the campaign to retain the original Damansara school and build a new school is to retain the original Damansara school for use as a school, not for 1,500 pupils coming from all over Petaling Jaya and the Klang Valley, but to become a community school for about 600 students living in the vicinity.
Up to now, neither the Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad, the Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Hon Choon Kim nor any MCA Minister who supported the closure of the original Damansara school could give one good reason why the original school with 25 classrooms should not continue to be used as a community school for the students in the immediate vicinity even after the construction of a new 36-classroom school in Tropicana in eight months as the original school is still in very good condition and the Klang Valley faces an acute shortage and not surplus of Chinese primary schools!
The original Damansara school can in fact become a model community Chinese primary school with a student population of about 600 pupils with class-size in the region of 30 students, allowing teachers to spend more time on the pupils and producing better results instead of treating schools as factories crammed with students like sardines with thousands of students.
The Gerakan President, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, who is a senior Cabinet Minister, and the other Gerakan national leaders should declare categorically whether they support the retention of the original Damansara school to become a community school, even after the construction of the new school in Tropicana, and not come out with ridiculous formulas like converting the old school into a hall for recreational use by the villagers - which is in fact an insult to the villagers and all those who supported the “Save Damansara School” campaign.
If the Gerakan national leadership is not prepared to be different from the MCA Ministers and give full support to the campaign to retain the original Damansara school and to build the new school at Tropicana, it should not undermine the campaign with new-fangled proposals which are totally at variance with the aspirations of the campaign and it should drop its plan to present its ridiculous and unacceptable proposals to the Cabinet.