KUANTAN: The old boys of SMK St Thomas, here, are pinning their hopes on the King to come to the rescue in their bid to retain the school’s name.
St Thomas old boys alumni spokesman K. Suthakar said they were hoping that Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah would intervene to allow SMK St Thomas and SK St Thomas keep their names when they were relocated to Kemunting, near here.
He said the Agong, his younger brother, Tengku Muda of Pahang Tengku Abdul Rahman and Tengku Mahkota Pahang Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah had studied at the school.
“We appeal to the king to assist in retaining the school’s name.
“We are trying to secure an audience with Al-Sultan Abdullah to explain the matter and help us protect the school’s legacy.
“St Thomas is among the top schools in the east coast and the country with more than 30,000 former students.
“If the school is renamed then its legacy will be completed erased and the former boys will no longer have a school to visit in the future.”
He said this after a gathering of the old boys to give pocket money to 59 Year One pupils during SK St Thomas’s orientation programme here today.
It is an annual event that has been hosted by the former students ahead of the new school term since 2017.
The alumni also gave some money to the school.
Suthakar said he had presented a St Thomas old boys T-shirt and cap to the Agong during a recent three-day working visit to Penang.
“The king had just opened the Albukhary Mosque in Penang and I waited outside to meet him.
“I informed him about the letter along with the T-shirts appealing to seek an audience with him.”
He said time was running out, but the old boys were still hoping that the school’s name would be retained.
Suthakar said they were in the dark about the progress of the construction of the new school building in Kemunting.
“Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching, during a meeting in February, said the tender process would be done this year.
“However, there have been no updates on the site where the school will be built,” he said.
The St Thomas primary and secondary schools are now sharing facilities with SK Teruntum and SMK Sultan Abu Bakar respectively after vacating their former premises in Jalan Gambut in 2014.
This was after the land, where both schools were located, was returned to St Thomas Church following a legal tussle between the government and the church in 2012.
It was previously reported that the state government had announced the construction of the new schools in Kemunting and the names would be changed once they had been relocated.