The jubilant school children giving the thumbs-up, knowing that they will soon have a new school.
BETONG: The rebuilding of SK Kampung Buda in Spaoh which was totally destroyed due to ‘critical river erosion’ on June 6 last year is expected to be fully completed by the end of September this year, at a cost of RM3 million.
According to Saribas assemblyman Mohammad Razi Sitam, the two main buildings of the new school will consist of six classrooms, a teacher’s room and a resource centre to cater to the 72 students and 14 teachers.
“I am quite confident that the school which is currently 55 per cent completed can be completed on time,” said Razi at the handing-over of financial assistance to the school from Sarawak Timber Association (STA) Mutual Sdn Bhd and Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) at the Kampung Buda mosque yesterday.
He added that the site of the old school had been declared unsafe due to the river erosion which saw 80 per cent of the school building swept away by the mighty Batang Saribas. A section of the school’s roof is visible during low tide while the rest of the school building is submerged under water.
“It was however fortunate that the incident happened at 3am during the school holidays,” he said, adding the village is home to around 1,000 villagers whose main source of income are farming and fishing.
Sarudu (third right) handing over the mock cheque to Kon (second left) witnessed by Razi (fourth left) and others at the Kampung Buda mosque yesterday.
The section of the river where the old SK Kampung Buda is submerged underwater.
Razi (front) leading the group out of the construction site of the new SK Kampung Buda yesterday.
He further said that the RM3 million package was funded by Lebuhraya Pan Borneo (LBU) as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.
“Under the current package, there are no other facilities such as a pre-school which is why we are glad that STA and STIDC have come up with a fund, now totalling RM173,000, as part of their CSR initiative for the school,” he added, saying any surplus would be used to build the pre-school which is expected to cost around RM75,000 while the balance will be up to the school committee to decide on the best way to use it.
Razi commended STA and STIDC for the initiative to provide support towards the education of children in the rural areas.
“Education is the basis of human capital and economic development. Everything starts with education,” he added.
He anticipated construction of the pre-school to be carried out as soon as the two main school buildings which are built using the Integrated Building System (IBS) are completed.
“Currently, construction of the new SK Kampung Buda is only using three out of the 15 acres of land which was approved by former chief minister, the late Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, who wasted no time to provide the land as soon as he heard of the incident,” he added.
Also speaking to The Borneo Post after the ceremony was STIDC general manager Datu Sarudu Hoklai, who believed the fund would be put to good use by the school to build the necessary infrastructure.
“They (school) have plans to use the fund to build a pre-school which is very good. There is no issue as the fund can be used to build any type of infrastructure,” said Sarudu.
He added that SK Kampung Buda was picked as the beneficiary of the CSR initiative due to the nature of the calamity it faced last year.
In May last year, STIDC handed a total of RM73,000 to rebuild the school.
Upon realising the magnitude of the whole project, another RM100,000 was channelled together with STA yesterday.
Since 2012, STIDC has been working together with STA through its subsidiary company, STA Mutual Sdn Bhd, to improve the facilities and amenities of rural primary and secondary schools in Sarawak.
Also present at the ceremony were SK Kampung Buda headmaster Kon Sakawi, STA honorary treasurer Philip Choo Kwong Hui, STA general manager Peter Kho and other officers from both STIDC and STA.