Wednesday, December 27, 2023

3 blocks at Tamil school without fitness cert since 2016, say parents


3 blocks at Tamil school without fitness cert since 2016, say parents

A dispute between the school’s administration, board of governors and contractor for the settlement of an overdue payment of RM450,000 is said to be the main problem.

SJKT Simpang Lima in Sri Andalas, Klang, has about 1,200 students and 130 teachers. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Parents of children studying in the country’s largest Tamil school claim that its three “new” four-storey blocks have been used for more than seven years without a certificate of completion and compliance (CCC).

A group of parents who contacted FMT said the three buildings of SJKT Simpang Lima in Sri Andalas, Klang, were completed by Alpha Heritage Sdn Bhd in 2016 and that the school began using the blocks although no CCC was issued.

According to a parent, lessons were conducted in the new buildings after the school’s board of governors submitted a letter of undertaking to the Klang municipal council at the time. The school has about 1,200 students and 130 teachers.

The parent claimed that the process of issuing the CCC was halted due to outstanding issues involving the school authority, the school board, the contractor and Genting Bhd’s education foundation The Community Chest (TCC), the school’s funder.

Another parent who requested anonymity said the contractor and consultant architect had warned the school in 2016 that they would not be responsible for any untoward incidents as the school was using the buildings without a CCC.

He said the RM6 million project was funded by TCC but the problem began due to a cost overrun of RM450,000 involving work to obtain the fitness for occupation certificate.

“We were told that the school asked TCC for this additional funding last year, but it was rejected. As a result, the school is embroiled in a dispute with the contractor over the funding, even after all the necessary work was completed.”

The parent said all parties involved should be aware of the possible consequences of using buildings without a CCC, besides it being a legal requirement.

“There are safety risks, repudiation of insurance claims, and it can cause the school to be closed if action is taken.”

The parents also said it was shocking that none of the authorities involved, namely the education ministry, the school’s management, parent-teachers’ association and the local council, had taken any steps to resolve the issue despite several complaints.

When contacted, Alpha Heritage director P Nagamuthu confirmed that the school had been operating without a CCC despite several reminders to the relevant authorities.

He said as far as his company was concerned, all necessary work to obtain the CCC had been completed but that the outstanding amount of RM450,000 owed to the firm was holding back the process.

“The consultant architect made it clear to the board that unless this dispute between the school’s board of governors and Alpha Heritage is resolved amicably, we will not be held responsible for the failure to issue the CCC.

“I have sent letters to the school’s headmaster, board of governors, the local authority and education minister to step in to resolve the problem, to ensure the safety of the students, teachers and staff,” he said.

Nagamuthu also claimed that TCC had not settled the remaining retention sum of RM150,000 despite the completion of the project and all rectification carried out within the defect liability period on Feb 1, 2017.

He said he had filed a suit against TCC for the settlement of this outstanding amount.

In an affidavit in reply sighted by FMT, TCC claimed that its contract was with the school’s board, not the contractor. It also said the retention sum could only be settled after the CCC was issued.

FMT has reached out to the education ministry, chairman of the school’s board and the Klang municipal council for comment.

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