Call for Legal Action against Teacher who Caned Female Student in Johor

Call for Legal Action against Teacher who Caned Female Student in Johor

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Shalini May Hwa, Yeap started this petition to Attorney General Chambers Of Malaysia

Facts of the case: On or about June 24, reports emerged about the caning of a female student by a teacher in Johor following a video of the student's mother confronting the teacher about this circulating on social media. The teacher alleged that the caning was because the student had called him an ah kua lau shu (effeminate teacher). The caning left welts on the student's upper arms and thighs.

Our Education Minister, Dr Maszlee Malik, said in a press statement dated June 25, 2019 that the Johor Bahru PPD has been instructed to investigate the matter so that justice can be provided for both parties i.e. the student and teacher involved in the incident. (See: https://www.moe.gov.my/index.php/en/pemberitahuan/media-statement/5472-kenyataan-media-insiden-guru-merotan-murid-siasatan-adil-dijalankan

On the same day (June 25), the Malay Mail reported that the Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said caning of female students are not allowed, in accordance with the ministry’s circular dating back to 2003, reportedly saying that “Even caning for male students, only two areas are allowed, on the palm of the hand or the buttocks and only the head master or school principal has the authority to do so,” the deputy minister said. (See: https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/06/25/deputy-education-minister-says-decision-on-jb-teacher-who-caned-girl-after/1765362

On June 27, a meeting held between the patients involved at the Johor Baru district education office reportedly resulted in an apology between parties. Johor Education, Human Resource, Science and Technology Committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan reportedly deemed the matter settled(See: https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/06/27/caning-issue-in-jb-between-parent-and-teacher-settled-amicably-says-educati/1766127 The teacher will, reportedly, undergo counselling by the Johor education department (See: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/481467

Main issue(s): Is the teacher above the law?

The caning of a female student is clearly prohibited by a 2003 circular by our Ministry of Education. Above and beyond this, the teacher's act of caning the student on her upper arms and thighs clearly contrevenes the caning SOP for male students under the same circular. For male students, caning shall be executed with a light cane on the palm of the hand or on the buttocks over the clothes. To-date there has been no official statement from MOE regarding the blatant violation of SOP on caning by the teacher in question.

The welts on her body go to show that the lashings of the rotan were administered in a fit of rage - as a retribution to the name-calling and not meant to discipline or nurture. 

Sadly (and quite strangely), instead of addressing the illegality of this violent act, the emphasis seems to be on crucifying the parent for circulating the video and scrutinising the student's performance in school.

Why support this petition: It is both worrying and disappointing that the matter was resolved 'behind closed doors' without any explanation being offered as to how the MOE views and intends to handle the teacher's illegal act of caning the student.

Aminolhuda's statement as reported by MalaysiaKini is a feeble attempt at addressing the incident - "Perhaps he was upset over the insult. The student (who was caned) said something inappropriate.” (See: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/481467

Until and unless the SOP is amended to allow caning of female students, the teacher's (mis)conduct is a clear abuse of power. Why is this not being addressed? 

This Malay Mail article mentioned above further states that:

Meanwhile, Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said investigations will still continue on a report lodged by the female student’s mother on claims that her daughter was caned by her teacher, despite the report’s withdrawal. He said police are aware of the report’s withdrawal by the complainant today, but it is up to the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) to close the case. “However, police will remark to the DPP that the complainant has withdrawn the report pending the decision for us to stop investigations.”

(See: https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/06/27/caning-issue-in-jb-between-parent-and-teacher-settled-amicably-says-educati/1766127

In this light, we call for the Attorney General's Chamber to look into this matter further and initiate proceedings agains the teacher for violating the guidelines under the 2003 MOE circular. It is important to set a precedent with regard to this matter. If the caning SOP can be violated without any serious repercussions, why then have it at all?

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