MIRI (January 1): Former Miri High School founder Datuk Lau Siu Wai apologizes to some 700 former students who failed to obtain their public exam certificates for failing to pay tuition fees unpaid.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the executive chairman of Miri Housing Group revealed that he recently took the time to erase some documents that were handed to him but had not been touched for many years.
“From the documents I found this stack of unclaimed certificates held by the school, including O Levels and SPM certificates for unpaid tuition fees dating back to the 1970s.
“Until recently, I was not aware of the matter and was planning to contact these students or their relatives to come and claim these certificates, probably next week,” Lau said.
The 92-year-old entrepreneur and educator founded the private school in 1964 with nine other shareholders donating RM5,000 each to provide affordable education for all.
With a bank loan of RM50,000, the school started with 230 students and eight classrooms, which grew to over 1,600 students and 32 classrooms.
Between 1964 and 1969, around 800 poor students were allowed to pay discounted tuition fees each year based on their parents’ financial situation.
His mission to provide affordable education was interrupted after he was relieved of his post as the school’s second principal and shareholder in 1969. The school finally closed in the late 1980s.
“Until today, I regret not having been able to protect these students. Looking through these certificates held by the school for not being able to pay the full amount of the tuition breaks my heart, ”Lau said.
Miri’s private real estate development pioneer, born in Chaozhou Province, China in 1931, arrived here on July 2, 1953. In 1941, he studied classical Chinese literature at a private tutoring school before pursuing further studies. studied English at St Joseph’s College in 1947 in Hong Kong.
While working with Sarawak Shell Oil Field Limited in Miri, he self-taught in the evenings to obtain the Cambridge Higher School Certificate in 1957.
He received a PhD in Project Management from the Inter-American University of New York in 2010 and received an Honorary Chair (English Prize) from Hanshang Normal University in Chaozhou, China.
His passion for education had driven him to go to great lengths to help students facing financial difficulties, even if it affected his business.
“No amount of subdivisions or commercial estates that I have built could match the satisfaction I get from creating schools. I know how important education is and how affordable education can help change the lives of poor students, ”Lau said.