THE Tamil Schools Special Committee chairman Datuk Seri Sundarajoo Somu remains dedicated to resolving land issues for several Tamil schools during his term as the Perai assemblyman.
Sundarajoo, who is also the state Housing and Environment Committee chairman, shared updates on three schools – SJKT Ladang Malakoff, SJKT Mayfield, and SJKT Ladang Juru.
“We have identified a piece of land for SJKT Ladang Juru and negotiations on the land price are underway. The Penang Development Corporation (PDC) is now evaluating the land.
“The school currently has some 200 pupils, and once rebuilt with proper infrastructure, we expect to see an enrolment of 500 to 600 pupils in the next term,” Sundarajoo said during an interview with Buletin Mutiara on Jan 31.
Concerning the SJKT Ladang Malakoff and SJKT Mayfield, Sundarajoo said he had met with developers to discuss land ownership transfer to the respective schools.
The meeting has yielded positive result.
“The land title is important for us to raise funds for the rebuilding of the schools,” he added.
According to Sundarajaoo’s official Facebook page, the landowner of SJKT Mayfield has agreed for the Tamil Schools Special Committee to write an official letter to their board of directors requesting the transfer of the land ownership.
Meanwhile, the landowner of SJKT Ladang Malakoff has agreed to initiate the process of transferring land ownership to the school soon.
Sundarajoo attributed the poor enrolment in Tamil schools to inadequate infrastructure, which needs to be addressed.
“Historically, Tamil schools were established in estates alongside temples for the Indian community.
“However, now estates do not exist, and even if they do, local Indians do not reside there; only foreign workers do.
“We must move Tamil schools closer to where the population has moved, and this is the responsibility that I have taken.
“Instead of forcing people to attend Tamil schools, we have to move the schools closer to them,” he added.
Sundarajoo also expressed his desire to solve land matters for other Tamil schools including SJKT Ladang Kerian, SJKT Sungai Bakap, and SJKT Sungai Ara over the next four years.
“Out of the total of 28 schools in Penang,several schools are facing land issues, and if I can successfully address at least 50% of them during my term as the Perai assemblyman, I would consider it an achievement,” Sundarajoo said with enthusiasm and confidence.
Simultaneously, Sundarajoo mentioned that he is in the process of setting up either a non-governmental organisation or a foundation that will be managed by independent bodies to raise funds for education, especially for Tamil schools.
“Other than this, I am planning to organise programmes aimed at training parents in effective parenting – a ‘training the trainers’ concept since parents are considered the primary educators of their children.
“Sometimes, parents unintentionally resort to abusive language or physical discipline when trying to teach their children.
“Such approaches are not acceptable by today’s ‘modern children’ and may contribute to elevated stress.
“Whereas in those days, we do not hear terms like stress or depression.
“Basically, this will be more like a motivational talk for parents to encourage them to become better parents. The sessions can be conducted either yearly, half-yearly or quarterly,” Sundarajoo said.
He reiterated his commitment to providing revision books to Tamil school students.
Sundarajoo shared that last December, the state government, through the Tamil Schools Special Committee, sponsored 15,900 Tamil workbooks at a cost of RM55,000 for students in 28 Tamil primary schools.
In addition, 600 revision books were distributed to students in 52 secondary schools preparing for the SPM exam next year. The cost of these books, amounting to RM10,000, was also covered by the committee.
As a closing thought, Sunderajoo emphasised the importance of education as it not only broadens one’s knowledge, but also shapes their future.
“Education is something close to my heart, as it decides a person’s future and way of thinking. It is the only way that can advance a community.
“Without education, individuals may lose their way and engage in detrimental activities.
“Everyone comes through a rough journey in life. Some get diverted and deviated, but only some keep ‘walking straight’ like myself even after going through hardships.
“I am very genuine about helping Tamil schools and the community. And I know that I can do it,” Sundarajoo said.
Story by Tanushalini Moroter
Pix by Siti Nuratikah Rahmat