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KOTA KINABALU, Dec 23 — An English teacher and the principal of a school in Kota Belud are being sued by more of their former students for allegedly failing to show up for classes for almost an entire year.
Former students Calvina Angayung, Rusiah Sabhdarin and Nur Natasha Allisya Hamali — now 19 years old — are suing their teacher Mohd Jainal Jamran, headmaster Suid Hanapi along with the director-general of education, the education minister, and the Malaysian government at the High Court here.
Both Jainal and Suid had previously been sued for the same reason by another ex-student of the school about two years ago. Nafirah Siman, 19, sued Jainal for alleged failure to turn up for classes for seven months at the same school in 2015.
In the latest case, the three women said Jainal had not attended to their English classes between March and November 2017, despite repeated reminders, and had zero attendance after July of 2017.
Jainal was assigned to teach English thrice a week from January to October but only turned up for the class in January and February.
According to their summary of claim, by March 2017, Jainal was late for class and would leave the class early or would not attend at all.
“During numerous instances, the plaintiffs had to go to the first defendant at his office to remind and/or request him to attend the English class he was assigned to.
“Save for a few instances where the first defendant would attend class but failed to teach, the first defendant would ignore the plaintiffs’ requests,” it said.
They were then 16-year-olds in the sports science class of SK Taun Gusi, Kota Belud, some 1.5 hours drive from the state capital.
Also in their statement of claim, they said that the other defendants failed to take any steps to rectify their teacher’s months-long absences, and are thus also in breach of their statutory duties as stated in the federal constitution, the Education Act 1966 and the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations of 1993.
They also cited the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Jainal was transferred earlier this year and the principal, Suid, retired, also early this year.
“The reason we are filling this suit is to ensure that other students will not, in future, face the same problems we had all faced at the school,” said Nur Natasha during a press conference in Penampang yesterday.
“When I told people that I was taking my former teacher to court for being absent and failing to fulfill his duty as a teacher, they told me it was better to withdraw the case. They tried to discourage me by saying that pursuing the case would only cause more problems in my life.
“But I don’t think this case is causing me trouble. I am happy to do this and I will not give up. It’s clear that when teachers refuse to teach, a school’s culture quickly degrades: more students fight, more students break the rules, and more students themselves begin to leave classes and even school,” she said.
Their suit claimed of breaches of statutory duty, the right to education and misfeasance in public office.
They were represented by lawyers from Messrs Roxana & Co – the same team that represented Siti Nafirah, the first student to file the suit in 2018.
Nafirah, also 16 at the time, also claimed that Jainal was absent from class for seven months in a row.
Her case has been postponed due to the conditional movement control order (CMCO). She also attended the press conference yesterday.