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Convent Bukit Nanas issue: There has been no due process in this matter, says alumnae president

KUALA LUMPUR (April 22): The Ministry of Education (MoE) has not conducted “due process” for Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN) (pictured) to be gazetted as a fully government-aided school, The Malaysian Insight reported alumnae president Marina Yong saying today.

“So far, however, no announcement has been made by the ministry, only a comment from the land office director,” Yong told the news portal.

“As we can see, there has been no due process in this matter, so it doesn’t hold water.

“I think we need to hear from the relevant parties, like the MoE, which interestingly enough has been silent on this. They haven’t corroborated what the land and mines department said,” she said.

According to a The Star report on April 20, Federal Territories Land and Mines Office clarified that the school will be spared demolition when its lease expires as “the land it sits on will revert to the government so it can be gazetted as a fully-aided government school”.

Director Datuk Muhammad Yasir explained that the “decision not to renew” CBN's lease was so that the “iconic school” becomes a “fully-aided government school, which would enable it to receive all the benefits it needs for the future”.

Yong said that the alumni members “found it odd” that it was a Federal Territories Land and Mines Office director and not the MoE who made the announcement, leaving “many of them puzzled as to the status of the school”.

“We do not want to be converted into a fully government-funded school. If the government had intended to do so, they should have consulted the school and the mission authority would have had the opportunity to decline the offer.

“We don’t know why they have used that reason to not renew the land lease because as far as we understand, the Sisters were not informed of the reason and neither were they approached on this matter of becoming a fully funded government school.

“They first made the application for renewal in 2017 and that’s four years before the lease was up. The Sisters were doing their part by acting early, and in between there was no mention at all of it becoming a fully funded government school.

“Then in 2020 when they got the response that the lease was not going to be renewed, there was also no indication that the government was going to convert it to a fully funded government school. That’s why everyone is so puzzled. To hear this reason is very odd,” Yong added.

She explained that the “school has been running fine” and if “the school was in such dire need of funds, we would have known about it. But there is no such case”, she told the news portal.

The 122-year-old school is currently operated by its owners under the school board Lady Superior of the Society of Saint Maur.

On April 7, Lady Superior of the Society of Saint Maur was granted an application for leave for judicial review to challenge the government's move not to extend the CBN's land lease.

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