Students cross rickety bridge to attend school

As a new school year begins, students have begun their return to physical classrooms after months of attending online classes due to the ongoing pandemic.

A particular scene in Sabah of students on their first day of school has attracted the attention of Malaysians online. The children were seen crossing an old, rickety suspension bridge – allegedly a shortcut – to get to school. After many expressed their concerns regarding the safety of the structure, authorities temporarily closed the walkway.

Swaying suspension bridge to go to school

On 10th January 2022, the first day of the new school year, students of Sekolah Kebangsaan Sibuga Besar in Kampung Nelayan, Sandakan, were photographed crossing an old suspension bridge, as reported by Bernama in a tweet

Students Cross Rickety Bridge To Attend School - Bridge 2
Image credit: Arjasneh Ahmad/BERNAMA

The bridge’s platform, which consists of wood planks, appears to be missing most of its pieces. This left the students clinging onto the bridge’s fenced railing and precariously navigating their way across on remaining planks, as could be seen in the photos.

Some of the students appeared to be in their primary school years.

Netizens express concerns regarding the safety of these children

Many netizens have expressed their sympathy and concerns for the students and their safety, leading many on social media to demand officials to take action.

Students Cross Rickety Bridge To Attend School - Tweet 1
Image credit: Twitter

One netizen on Twitter voiced their concern by tweeting how they couldn’t believe that students are risking their lives to commute to school. They also called for change, saying, “We need to start creating more accessible road and safety conditions for our children. They not only deserve quality education but access to quality education as well.”

Students Cross Rickety Bridge To Attend School - Tweet 2
Image credit: Twitter

Another Twitter user stated that even in 2022, Malaysians students still have to cross an unsafe bridge to get to school.

Bridge temporarily closed for repair works

After the photos went viral online, local authorities moved to temporarily close the dilapidated suspension bridge as it was deemed “unsafe as a pedestrian walkway”, as reported in another article by Bernama.

The bridge’s closure was carried out by the Development and Security Committee (JPKK), under the orders of the Public Works Department and Sandakan Municipal Council. Repair works are currently underway, as shared by Jabatan Kerja Raya Sabah on Facebook.

The 30-year-old bridge, which measures 150-metres long, suspends over Sungai Batang and connects Kampung Nelayan Tengah with Kampung Sibugal Besar.

Providing safer routes for students

It’s really worrisome to see young school pupils resorting to unsafe routes to get to school as it could potentially lead to accidents. But it is reassuring to see concerned Malaysians looking out for one another, and authorities listening to the public and taking action swiftly. 

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Cover image adapted from: PISANG PANAS and Arjasneh Ahmad/BERNAMA 

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