The Penang State Government should do everything within its power to preserve two Convent schools on the island from being closed down or relocated as they are very much a part of the county’s history and pride.
It was reported that the land owner of where SJK, SMK Convent Light Street (CLS) and SMK Convent Pulau Tikus (CPT) stand today, the Sisters of Infant Jesus Malaysia, has expressed an intention of taking back the said lands and have sought an appointment with the Chief Minister of Penang in July to discuss its plans for the future.
Speculation is rife that the said schools will close down by 2024 when the land is taken back.
The oldest girl’s school in South East Asia, CLS is certainly a pride of Penang and is fittingly located in its heritage zone as well.
CPT, too, is historically significant, having opened its doors way back in 1929 as an education provider and is a household name in Penang.
I note the CM’s intention to appeal to the Education Ministry to relocate the said schools in the event the land on which they stand today is taken back.
However, I am of the view that the said schools should remain and continue to operate where they are due to their historical importance and significance, not only to Penang, but to the country.
For this reason, I urge the State Government to take the necessary steps to acquire the said land under the Land Acquisition Act, 1960 in the event the land owners insist on taking it back.
There is no doubt that this option is open to the State Government as it is certainly in the public interest and for public purpose to preserve the said schools as they are iconic structures in the State and will continue to contribute immensely to the cause of education in the State, as they have in the past.
No doubt, the land owners would have to be compensated under the said Act if this were to happen but it may be the only way to save the schools and maintain them as they are.
I also urge the alumni of the schools and their respective Parents and Teachers Associations to come out strongly in support of the State Government acquiring the said lands which would very likely persuade it to do so.
It would be very sad indeed if CLS and CPT no longer stand where they are today and all efforts ought to be made to ensure they remain where they are, more so from Penangites.
Dated this 22nd June, 2019.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LEGAL BUREAU
DEMOCRATIC ACTION PARTY