An 83-year-old Chinese primary school was shocked to learn that the government plans to acquire about 15,000 square feet of its land for a development project under the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry.

NONEThis was revealed to the school board of SJK(C) Chin Woo by a group of representatives from three government agencies together with the developer at a meeting yesterday.

The group was led by Khairi Zaman Huri, the ministry's Policy and Strategic Planning Division (Culture) chief secretary, and comprised the Information Ministry, Kuala Lumpur City Hall and Land Department officers.

At the meeting, Khairi told the board's chairperson Oo Tin Fuan that some parts of the school occupy a piece of vacant government land next to the school, which has now been earmarked for a project named Kota Warisan.

According to him, the plan calls for the construction of an office tower for the Information Ministry and a restaurant.

He asked the school to vacant the land in order to make way for the project.

"We came here is to seek a win-win solution. We can consider if the school demands compensation from the developer," he had said.

NONEHowever, Oo had pointed out that the school had been there since well before the nation's independence and had never once been informed by any authority that it had been sitting on government land.

"We will not concede our school land," he vowed.

Media asked to leave meeting

At this point, Khairi said the meeting was supposed to be closed-door, not open to the media. The school board objected but eventually relented as Khairi threatened to put off the meeting should it continued in the presence of the reporters.

After the meeting, Oo told a press conference that the government plans to acquire about 15,000 square feet, which means the school car park and two basketball courts would be affected.

NONEHe lamented that the school had been granted an allocation of RM200,000 by the Education Ministry to upgrade the basketball courts not long ago, and yet another ministry is asking the school to concede the same piece of land.

"The school is for the community and students, but the project is only for the benefit of one person (developer). There is no logic to make way for such project," he said.

According to him, Khairi will brief his superiors on their stand before any further action is decided.