Melilas school fading into oblivion

National 2 minutes, 5 seconds

BELAIT

THE lack of jobs in Kg Melilas may spell the end of the Melilas Primary School, as residents have fewer reasons to stay in the small native village located in the southernmost point of the Belait District.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Muhd Shahrin Muhd Halim, a religious teacher from the school, said the school currently has four pupils coming from two families.

Both families have members with jobs in the village, one being the bilal of the Melilas Prayer Hall and the other being the school’s cook.

The teacher said that previously, there were numerous positions in the village offered to the residents, mostly as labourers who maintain the roads within the area.

“Now those jobs are no longer offered here, so the residents have to move out of the village, bringing their kids with them,” he said.

The teacher added that if those jobs were to be offered again, then a number of Melilas villagers who have found jobs outside the village would happily return with their kids who can become the primary school’s pupils.

Muhd Shahrin went on to say that the village urgently needs a medic which is a position that was also available previously. However he added that since the original medic retired, no one has been sent to replace him.

“We know some of the basic such as treating a small wound or treating a broken bone, but there needs to be a proper medical practitioner here to treat injuries that are beyond the basics,” he added.

Hj Shahrul Fauzi Adam, the bilal of the Melilas Prayer Hall who is also the father of one of the school’s students said that the school is an important heritage of the village, adding that without it, the village would die out.

When asked why he did not want to move to more developed areas in the country, he said that he is unwilling to leave the village, like many other residents, as they own most of the land there.

“I was born and raised here, my plantations are here, if this village were deserted then an important part of our family history – our roots – will be gone forever,” he said.

“The school plays an important part in the survival of this village, it is where our kids and where I received knowledge as a child, it is not wrong to add more jobs here for the sake of the school and the village,” he added.

The Brunei Times