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Checks begin on termite woes at MCKK


KUALA KANGSAR: The Education Ministry, Perak Works Department and Taiping Heritage Department yesterday inspected the termite-infested century-old Malay College Kuala Kangsar.
Several ministry and department officers were sent to check the condition of the school building and its safety, and to find solutions to save the landmark building.

The New Sunday Times reported that the school's Greco-Roman building and hostel -- fondly referred to as the Big School -- had been declared unsafe for habitation. The affected main block houses 10 dormitories.

The officers were seen walking together, taking notes and taking photographs accompanied by school head Anand Baharuddin.

However, they declined to comment on their findings after a three-hour inspection.

It was learnt the team was sent to verify the reports regarding the school's termite-infested condition, as highlighted by the New Sunday Times.

It is believed the officers found the problem not irredeemable and measures would be taken to repair the affected school buildings.

Perak Education and Higher Learning Committee chairman Datuk Mohammad Zahir Abdul Khalid said the state government had appealed for a RM1.5 million allocation from the ministry for MCKK to eradicate its termite infestation problem.

He advised parents not to worry as the school had taken the necessary precautions to ensure students' safety.

The iconic Big School and its hostel were closed since the start of the school year after termites damaged its wooden roofs, ceilings and floors.

The block was deemed unsafe for habitation and at least 100 students housed within five dormitories were evacuated to other hostel blocks.

Subsequent inspection by a pest control company revealed that almost the entire Big School, which has 21 dormitories accommodating about 500 students, was badly infested.

Even the school's iconic grand old raintree, fondly known as the Big Tree, appeared to be dying as a result of the termite attack.

The Big School building was officially declared a national heritage in March 2009.

MCKK, established in 1905, is a premier boarding school with a famous alumni that include Perak's ruler Sultan Azlan Shah and Umno founder the late Datuk Onn Jaafar.