Education is the utmost priority

From the days of our forefathers’ decades ago, obtaining formal education is a luxury. Not many have the financial status or the opportunity to study in a school. If lucky, one may have graduated from the primary school.

Hence, when I was still a kid, all the adults that I met used to advise me to study hard in school, get enrolled in the university and become a highly educated person. I am sure all of us face that “lecture” by the elders. For closer families like our parents, sometimes we get a beating for not scoring good results.

These days, finishing studies at least in primary and secondary schools is a must. Although graduating from colleges and universities are common as well, but there are still a number that doesn’t take that option.

Nevertheless, we are now more aware of the importance of education. We also understand that education doesn’t only mean finishing schools or graduating from universities. It happens throughout our lives and every second of the life that we are living in.

From the day that we were born, we have started to learn already. As an infant, we learn by observing the people around. We learn how to walk, talk, eat and subsequently we learn how to read and write in schools.

In schools, learning doesn’t only happen in the classrooms. Out of the classes, students learns how to socialize, they learn about leadership in the school’s organizations, they learn about sports and fitness in the field and many more.

Nobody can ever deny that education is definitely important and in every family, education is the utmost priority.

Unfortunately, the Penang State Government might be thinking otherwise or they might have a different perspective on priorities.

Why would I say so? Few weeks back, we have notice the uproar from the Chinese community over the Penang State Government’s decision to acquire part of Penang Chinese Girls’ High School (PCGHS) land to make way for the expansion of the road.

I have always believed that if there is any option, education must not be forsaken for other purposes which includes its buildings and infrastructures.

And there are options indeed for this case. According to a former state EXCO, in the proposal of the Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) led by Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon then, there was an elevated highway instead of taking up the land of the school for road expansion. Probably the DAP was making its stand clear, after all, they objected the PORR back then.

This has also portrayed the hypocrisy that we can see. The DAP-led state government has always been so proud of their advocacy and contribution to the education. Press conferences and statements were issued on how much financial contribution that they have given to the school. It is an irony to me that if so much money were given to a school, but when the school starts losing lands; what would they use the money for?

YB Chow Kon Yeow has explained that the issue happens due to PCGHS’ plans to expand the school’s building. Therefore, the school have to adhere to the land setback regulation.

If they are so rigid on local regulations, then the state government will have to a lot to explain on their practices on other matters as I see it as double standard.

We have heard that the state government has been so flexible on housing development regulations. Different housing development projects are implemented with different regulations? Certain housing developers were waived from certain criteria or given special privileges in their projects?

It seems like housing development regulations can be amended from time to time to suit the “needs”. And the definition of “needs” might be different between Penangites and the state government. Are we getting what we need in terms of housing or any specific group is benefiting the needs?

If the state government can be flexible towards housing regulations, why not on land setback regulations especially when it is related to the education land?

If not from the strong pressure by the community, the school land might have already been acquired for road expansion. After this episode, we can see what the priorities in the state administration are. As to what it is, you judge it for yourself.

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