SK Simpang Empat( formerly the Simpang Empat English School) ,a Gandhi Hall , a football field, a science laboratory named after a famous Dr..VRN Menon and the Dindings Indian Association ( DIA) Club House sit on a 2 hectare land in Sitiawan town.
Over $136,000 was raised from rubber tappers, philanthropists and the general public to build the main building in 1950. The foundation stone was laid by a well known miner Chong Sam on October 3rd 1950. Even Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were brought from India to the school and then thrown in the Dindings River.
The rubber tappers who had contributed to build the school came from the over 35 estates located around Sitiawan.
According to the late V.Murugeson, each rubber tapper had paid $2 a month for 18 months as contribution towards building the school.
Sometime in early 2000, it was public knowledge that the DIA had entered into a joint venture to develop the 2 hector land.
Under the joint venture agreement, a new Club House would be built and given to the DIA. On top of this, RM200, 000 had to be given to the developer by the DIA.
This deal was objected by the local people as it was felt that the whole joint venture was a “raw deal” that was lop sided and totally unfair. As a result, the DIA backed down and did not develop the said land.
Now the Federal Government has given formal notice to acquire the said land apparently for the school and any one intending to object the acquisition will have to do so by lodging a formal objection when the matter is heard at the Land office on 24th August2010.
The local Indian community is anxious to know whether the DIA Committee will contest the proposed acquisition.
I hope they will make their stand public so that the people can know and understand their position and stand on the proposed acquisition.
As regards the Federal Government, the community demands to know:-
1. Why should they acquire this land?
2. Is this a political decision?
3. Who made this decision?
The community will have no objection if the Federal government wants to rebuild the school but will object to the decision to acquire the land. In any case, there are other national schools around the area.
The Federal government must understand that the land has a lot of historical significance especially to the Indian community. This piece of land which is now worth at least RM15million is priceless to the community.
It can be said that this piece of land, situated prominently in the center of the town. is the only and last piece of land belonging to the local Indian community?
Hence, it’s totally insensitive, unfair, and unjustifiable for the government to even think of acquiring this land, especially when the community has never objected to the existence and operation of the present school.
The Sitiawan Hindu Sangam will have a public meeting at 7 pm on Wednesday 11th August2010 to discuss the proposed acquisition and to decide the appropriate measures accordingly.