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Chee Wen: A school with no home

Basic Education Series #1. Lee Hwa Beng made SRJK(C) Chee Wen an election pledge. Now people are asking when the school will be ready. This site picture was taken on 18/03/2000. Not much has progressed in the last 19 months..
Posted on 07.42pm Nov 12, 2001

HOMELESS SCHOOL... Lee Hwa Beng made SRJK(C) Chee Wen an election pledge. Now people are asking when the school will be ready. This site picture was taken on 18/03/2000. Nothing much has progressed in the last 19 months... Basic Education Series #1

By usjXpress Team
Email: edteam@usj.com.my



SRJK (C) Chee Wen is a school without home.

In the heat of the 1999 general election, Subang Jaya state assemblyman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng declared in his manifesto that he would "complete the transfer of the school from (Batang Berjuntai) Kuala Selangor to Subang Mewah".

NEXT UPDATE:
Series #2: Parents: Chee Wen must get own school building by end 2002
Series #3: What Lee Hwa Beng says

Stay tuned!

The relocation process was duly completed and since January 2001, SRJK(C) Chee Wen has been squatting on "borrowed classrooms" at Sekolah Kebangsaan SS17 located at SS19.

So far, about RM350,000 has been solicited through various activities to raise fund for the construction of the school building.

The picture shown on this page was taken at the Subang Mewah site on March 18, 2000. A lone signboard indicates it is the proposed new site for SRJK(C) Chee Wen.

When the usjXpress Team revisited the site last week - 19 months later - little has progressed except abandoned earthworks with idle bulldozers hidden behind zinc hoardings.

Residents in Subang Jaya now have every reason to worry that classrooms for SRJK (C) Chee Wen will not be ready for the planned opening in January 2003.

One June 20, the school's Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) chairman Gan Weng Foo said the project was launched over a year ago with some piling work, but work had stalled.


TEMPORARY SQUATTERS

There are now 149 Year One pupils studying in three "borrowed" classrooms, whereas the seven teachers and a clerk occupy another as their common room.

Headmaster Chia Wong Hing said more "room" was needed for a higher enrolment as come January 2002, another three classes of Year One pupils will be taken in.

It was said that if negotiation to "borrow" another two classrooms falls through, the school may have to start the afternoon session.

By end 2002, the entire school will have to vacate the borrowed premises as the arrangement for temporary squatting will have expired.

The condition under which the pupils study has also been highlighted in the mainstream media.

"It seems a burden for the Year One pupils to reach their classrooms at the second floor," Sin Chew Jit Poh reported June 16.

"The have to take three flights of staircase besides carrying the heavy school bags," it added.

"As the canteen is located far away from their classrooms, the pupils have to make do with the open space nearby during break," the vernacular paper said.

"It becomes so inconvenient whenever it rains," it added.


DEMAND EXCEEDS SUPPLY

When Subang MP Tan Sri Dr K.S. Nijhar visited the school site in June, he said the Government was serious in providing another Chinese vernacular school in Subang Jaya.

Dr Nijhar said he understood the residents' concern over their children's education.

The MP said if the school was not completed by October 2002, parents might not be able to register their children for enrolment at the school.

He said there were about 1,500 applications for enrolment into Chinese vernacular schools in Subang Jaya.

However, the existing SRJK (C) Lik Hung in SS19 could only accommodate about 700 new pupils every year.

He said this had been the main reason why Subang Jaya assemblyman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng had fought for the school to be moved from its original location, Batang Berjuntai, to Subang Jaya.

He said he would raise the matter with the Selangor Education Department and the Education Ministry. He pledged to get the project resumed soon.

Gan, chairman of the school's PTA, said many parents now sent their children to schools in Puchong, Sungai Way and Sungai Buloh which were quite a distance away.


PARENTS FRUSTRATED

From February through October, USJ.com.my received numerous emails from concerned residents who asked about the progress of the Chinese schools in the neighbourhood.

On February 23, the community portal highlighted the frustration of parents who fear they might not be able to secure a place for their children to study in Chinese schools in their neighbourhood.

The topic was actively being discussed in the Subang Jaya Web Forum hosted at USJ.com.my. Here are some of them:


SEPTEMBER 23 GeneralDogsbody@usj.com.m wrote: "Is there something we can do to help speed up the building of Chee Wen? It's supposed to be ready in 2003, but checking the site two months ago, I HAVE GREAT DOUBTS. Maybe the foundation will be ready within the months closest to the next election."


SEPTEMBER 26 cwgoh@usj.com.my wrote: "SJK(C) Chee Wen belongs to Subang Mewah, not USJ. Without some Chinese schools in USJ, it will never be a perfect living place."


SEPTEMBER 26 ng@usj.com.my WROTE: "The latest and greatest huge school was completed in USJ 23 a few months ago and it was completed in less than 6 months. It has been empty (no students) for quite a number of months.

I am just wondering why they are building schools when the demand is not there and schools which have high demand are not being built fast enough.

SEPTEMBER 27 cwgoh wrote again: "We as parents ought to do something to assure our children's educational rights. I am aware that there is a committee in USJ to pursue for Chinese primary school as well, can anybody provide me with their contact? Just gotta put emotion in motion!"


OCTOBER 2 plantcloner@usj.com.my wrote: "My son will be starting at Chee Wen next year, and I am disappointed that nothing is done to the building of the school at Subang Mewah (for me it is close enough to USJ).

I learned that Chee Wen will not be able to cope by 2003 and the YBs should do something to fulfil his promise before the next election!"


OCTOBER 5 yokeimmvivian@usj.com.my wrote: "My daughter is very fortunate (or unfortunate?) to be placed at Lick Hung when she starts school in 2002...with 49 other children in her class - too many if you ask me. But that is the reality. There just aren't enough Chinese schools for our children. All we wanted is a smaller group of children in each class. That would mean more Chinese schools."


OCTOBER 22 stevenlee61@usj.com.my wrote: "the situation Lick Hung is so pathetic, squeezing 50 pupils to a small classroom, morning and afternoon. During the 1999 election, Lee Hwa Beng promised that the Chee Wen School of Subang Mewah will be ready by 2001, what happened Datuk?"


FRUSTRATION ACCUMULATED

Earlier this year, there were similar discussions on the same topic. Here are some of them:

JANUARY 22: A resident, plantcloner@usj.com.my asked about the progress for the building of SJK (C) Chee Wen after seeing a barren site location.

He said: "My wife went past the site the other day and it seemed there were no activities and nothing was built since we were there 6 months ago! "

JANUARY 22: Another resident, GeneralDogsbody@usj.com.my responded to the Forum discussion: "I would love to know too. Just before the last election, an arch was hurriedly put up with Chee Wen's name on it, and now, I know the students are squatting at the SS19 school. I truly hope this has nothing to do with either waiting for the next election or the Vision School..."

FEBRUARY 2: chongchai@usj.com.my asked about the difficulty in setting up new Chinese school to accommodate the increasing Chinese population.

He asked: "I've noticed that every time there is a new Chinese school is built, it is just a relocation from another Chinese school and not a 'brand new Chinese school'. Just exactly like Chee Wen Primary School and SJK(C) Damansara... USJ now is mushrooming with national school in every corner. Why?

He also asked why Chee Wen had to take two years to build when SJK (C) Damansara just needed 6 months to complete.

FEBRUARY 4: yfh@usj.com.my expressed his fear that his children might be denied the chance to study in a Chinese school in Subang Jaya.

He said: "I had registered my kids in the one and only Chinese school in Subang Jaya in SS19. I don't think my kids can get a place in there to study since we stay in USJ2. Next year will be the 1st year my daughter studies in primary school. Can this (new) school be ready by next year?"


FEBRUARY 5: ArnoldLee@usj.com.my was confused whether SJK (C) Chee Wen that occupies the classrooms in SK SS17 in SS 19 was actually the Vision School planned for USJ.


FEBRUARY 6: A Nanyang Siang Pau reader wrote to the Chinese newspaper's online forum, in English, drawing his observation on the situation in Subang Jaya USJ:

"The issue of SMRK(C) Damansara arises not from whether the relocation of the school is right or wrong but rather there is an acute shortage of Chinese primary schools. These schools are not exclusively for the Chinese but for the Malays, the Indians, and the Kadazans too.

"The relocation of the school will only solve less than 1% of the problem, and let's not burry our heads in the sand.

"Subang Jaya and USJ will face the very same problem, and perhaps even more acutely as we only have Lik Hang in the entire region.

"This is a problem not only for the YBs in the area to solve, but the entire population to solve.

"So I sincerely appeal to all parties in Subang, the YBs, the Opposition, MPSJ, Selangor State Government, the Federal Government, Sime UEP and EVER RESIDENT to join forces.

We need at least TWO more Chinese primary schools in Subang Jaya/USJ.


FEBRUARY 8: At the heat of the squabbles over the relocation of SJK (C) Damansara, a USJ resident xuans@pd.jaring.my wrote to a mailing list at SJKCDamansara@yahoogroups.com wanting to see SJK (C) Chee Wen to be completed within 8 months as clamoured for SJK (C) Damansara.

The resident wrote: "The school (SJK (C) Chee Wen) presently 'tumpang' the SRK SS 19 primary school, Lee Hua Beng promised last year that the school will be completed in 2 years time, but it seems that this is a moving goal post, nothing has started,"


FEBRUARY 8: Regular writer CL Loo of Subang Jaya replied to Xuan in his Forum and raised his concern for the welfare of the school children studying in Chee Wen at the borrowed classrooms.

He said: "For that matter, SRK SS17 Primary School Building in SS19 is situated much nearer to the main highway (compared to SJK (C) Damansara school building to the Sprint Highway!) out of Subang Jaya, joining the Federal Highway to Shah Alam/Klang. I believe some sound proofing facilities might have been added to this school to lessen the traffic "noise pollution".


FEBRUARY 8: Another USJ resident and regular contributor to Subang Jaya Web Forum, Dr CH Lim, wrote to the SJK Damansara mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SJKCDamansara asking about the progress at Chee Wen.

He asked: "Can someone provide us with an update on the status of the SJK (C) Chee Wen? The parents, including myself are really anxious to know when the new school can be ready.


FEBRUARY 8: By then, Xuan had replied to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SJKCDamansara Mailing List and said his piece on SJK (C) Chee Wen.

"There are definitely excess SRK schools in Subang Jaya, so many that they even open to 'squatters' like SJK(C) Chee Wen and a Tamil School.

"Instead of fighting for new Chinese school, MCA proposed a vision school for Subang, which will cater for another SRK again. Let us see which school will be completed first, the vision school promised before Lunas Election or Chee Wen promised in 1999."


FEBRUARY 9: Subang Jaya resident ST Ooi shared with the Web Forum readers that he read a report in Sin Chew Jit Poh which said the school (he could be referring to Chee Wen) would be ready in 3 years!

On January 1, gina@usj.com.my also mentioned about her reading that the vernacular papers reported the schools to be ready by 2003.


FEBRUARY 9: Again, Dr CH Lim replied to Subang Jaya Web Forum:

"Three years is too long to build the new SJK (C) Chee Wen school which was promised before 1999 GE. How long will it take to build the new SJK (C) Damansara in Tropicana? I was told it will be less than 1 year. Why? How long did it take to build all the brand new SRK schools 'mushrooming' in USJ/SJ areas?


FEBRUARY 14: The originator of the discussion on Chee Wen, plantcloner@usj.com.my wrote about his frustration: "The lack of a Chinese school and the empty promises by the politicians to solve the problem has prompted me to seriously thinking about 'home schooling' for my kids."

His worry was that the article he read in NST was all about US system. He wanted to know whether home schooling was legal.

As his wife, father-in-law, and father are all trained teachers, he said: "there is no reason why they cannot teach my kids. All I need is someone to teach the 'Chinese portion' of the curriculum.

He said: "The only worry I have is the development of social skills and extra curricula activities that are lacking in home schooled children."


FEBRUARY 13: Subang Jaya Web Forum moderator Patrick Tan finally received a reply from Datuk Lee Hwa Beng, to whom he had baby-sit to forward Dr CH Lim's earlier email for his attention:

"Dear C H Lim: I refer to your recent email to the USJ NewsGroup on this school. Kindly
refer to my homepage http://www.hwabeng.org.my for info on the school. I have already made a lot of press statements on this issue.


FEBRUARY 21: USJ resident ponloke@usj.com.my wrote about the authorities' ineffectiveness in handling the growing demand for Chinese schools in Subang Jaya.

"Talking about squatting, like the SR(C) Damansara squatted at SR(C) Pui Chai II, we are wondering why our children cannot squat at the many under-utilised SKs in USJ? Why our children have to be sent to inconvenience places like Kampung Baru Subang, Sg Way and Batu 14 Puchong?

"We have visited several schools that just opened within the last 2 years in USJ. Beautiful done but disappointedly underutilised. We believe they have about 36 rooms EACH but only about one third is used for the morning sessions, none is used in the afternoon sessions.

He went on to say: "It takes one election to make a promise, another one to fulfill it.

"As a thought, if all the parents of the rejected children from Lick Hung over the last few years stood up like the parents of the Damansara Primary School, you think we could have one Chinese school ready within one year? Do you think the vision school will be completed first or Chee Wen?


ACUTE SHORTAGE

It has been reported that, for the 2001 school year, there were 1,500 applications to enrol in Chinese medium schools in Subang Jaya, but only 750 applicants were successful.

According to Datuk Lee Hwa Beng, 600 pupils were enrolled in SRJK(C) Lick Hung, and about 150 enrolled in SRJK(C) Chee Wen. Both schools are located in SS19, Subang Jaya.

Some places have been reserved for children from other races who chose to study in the Chinese medium.

The remaining 750 unsuccessful applicants were sent to other Chinese schools such as SRJK (C) Sungei Way, SRJK (C) Han Ming (Puchong) and SRJK (C) Kg. Baru Subang.

Due to the distance and inconvenience, most of these children ended up studying in the sekolah kebangsaan around Subang Jaya.



Next in the Basic Education Series:
Parents: Chee Wen must get own school building by end 2002

Related articles:
Chinese schools: A post-dated cheque so far
Parents frustrated over Chinese school delays
Nijhar: Construction of SRJK(C) Chee Wen must resume fast
SJK(C) Chee Wen all set to start anew

Related Topics
PM briefed on delay of Chee Wen school
Community responds to school campaign
Parents to meet over Chinese school issues


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