Kit Siang questions bad conditions of Orang Asli schools

12 Oct 2015 / 18:20 H.

PETALING JAYA: DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang (pix) has called into question the deplorable conditions of schools and hostels for Orang Asli children, following the case of the seven missing children from the Temiar tribe.
He said that the school in Pos Tohoi, Gua Musang in Kelantan was in a lamentable condition with no basic amenities like water supply.
"Sometimes there is no water in the hostels, forcing the children to use the river. Broken and unmaintained fences also allowed for easy access out of the hostel grounds," he said in a statement today.
Lim added that when the children went missing on Aug 23, the school had no headmaster. The new headmaster was only appointed on the day before Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's visit on Sept 28.
He also said that following the disappearance of the children, the enrollment rate at the school has suffered.
There were 170 students enrolled as of Aug 23 with 70 students staying in the hostel. After the incident, enrollment dropped to 103, with only 12 students left in the hostel.
"The drastic drop in enrollment and the number of boarders says a lot about the trust Orang Asli parents have in the ability of the school to provide a safe and conducive environment for their children," he added.
Lim said the Education Ministry's move to establish a special committee to look into the various aspects involving Orang Asli children who stay in hostels and "engagement methods to win over their thinking towards development in education" are five dates too late.
"In order to fully understand what happened at SK Pos Tohoi that drove seven young children to run away and stay away for so long which cost lives, a fully independent inquiry must be conducted," he said.

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