Monday, 25 August 2014
Why the delay to return the headmaster's residence?
Why is there a delay in returning the headmaster's residence to the Penang Free School? Is there something we don't know?
It has been four months since the infamous Police raid on the then Puspanita-run homestay bungalow on the school grounds. That raid had uncovered 88 people staying in the bungalow on the weekend, of which 60 of them - including 15 students - had tested positive for drugs (cannabis and methamphetamine).
Following that incident, the Penang State Secretariat had terminated Puspanita's lease and taken back control over the bungalow which, traditionally, had always been the official residence of the headmaster of the Penang Free School until sometime in the last decade.
The question that has been on my mind, and also on the minds of several other people and parties, not least the school's authorities themselves, is what the State Secretariat now intends to do with the Headmaster's Residence.
I understand that this bungalow, as well as a stretch of some eight or nine bungalows on the far side of the school field, does not belong to the Penang government. As far as records show, the title to these buildings are still in the name of the federal government but somehow along the way, the responsibility over their management had been given to the state government. This has even been informed to the Chief Minister quite some time back, possibly in 2011 or 2012, and so the State Secretary has to keep this foremost in mind.
I still maintain my opinion expressed in this blog four months ago. At that time, I had expressed that the state government taking back the bungalow could not have come at a better time when the school's Board of Governors were clamouring for the headmaster's residence to be returned to the school.
I had written then that perhaps right now, the state secretariat would take notice of the Board's request and do what's right for the school. With the Bicentenary coming up in 2016, there were plans identified about two years back that the premises would be an ideal location to house the School Archives permanently.
So what say you, Mr State Secretary? How about giving the Headmaster's Residence back to the Penang Free School? It belongs to the school; it has always been part of the school's heritage. Please don't have any other funny ideas to allow some other unrelated organisations from occupying the premises. It would be preposterous that a new unrelated organisation has impunity to enter the school grounds at all hours and hold their activities. Please return it now.