KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 ― Following the unprecedented flooding in at least five states in the country, the Education Ministry has postponed the opening of the school year from 2015 by one week.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the opening date of primary and secondary schools in Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu and Johor ― where tens and thousands have evacuated due to heavy flooding ― has been rescheduled from January 4 to January 11.
For schools in all other states, this will be pushed back from January 5 to January 12, said Muhyiddin, who is also the education minister.
According to minister, as of December 28, a total of 340 schools in seven states affected by flooding have been converted into flood relief centres or inundated by floodwaters.
“As such, I understand the difficulties faced by the schools managements, teachers, parents and students if schools were to open on schedule,” he said, in a statement.
“Schools that are being used as emergency relief centres need time to be resorted to their normal state and those affected by the floods need the time to prepare for schools,” added Muhyiddin.
However, if floodwaters recede before or during the extension, school managements have been instructed to organise cleanup activities to ensure the schools are clean and safe for the students.
As at 8pm yesterday, 105,876 people have been evacuated from their homes in Terengganu, Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Johor, Perlis, Selangor, and Kedah.
Although floodwaters are gradually receding in Kuala Krai and Kota Baru, forecasters have warned that the worst is not yet over in Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu.
Reports continue to pour in on overcrowded shelters, intermittent communications services, shortage of food and water supply, rescue efforts hampered by power outages, and roads that have been washed away by the floods.
A total of five deaths were recorded in Kelantan, three in Pahang and two in Terengganu to date, according to data from the National Security Council published on its website.
The extent of the worst flooding in decades has been such that Muhyiddin, who is overseeing the government’s flood relief efforts, has warned that floods are worse than anticipated, saying that assets currently deployed were inadequate to face the floods of such proportions.