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‘Teachers told us to study on our own, instead’
Published on: Tuesday, September 06, 2022
By: Cynthia D Baga
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‘Teachers told us to study on our own, instead’
JJ sometimes entered the class but just for a while. While in the class, he was not friendly and always angry. 
Kota Kinabalu: The hearing of three former secondary school  students in Kota Belud who sued a teacher, the Government, Education Minister and two others for refusing to teach English three years ago began at the High Court, Monday.The suit of Rusiah Sabdarin, Nur Natasha Allisya Hamali and Calvina Angayung, who are now 21, was heard before Judge Leonard David Shim.

 The trio named the teacher Mohd Jainal Jamrin, Hj Suid Hj Hanapi (in his capacity as principal of SMK Taun Gusi), Director General of Education Malaysia, Minister of Education Malaysia and Government of Malaysia as defendants.

Among others, they claimed that the teacher failed to turn up in class to teach the subject for seven months in 2015 and that the other defendants took no reasonable action despite being notified of the matter.

The first witness Nurul Afirah Zainal Abidin, 20, a former classmates of the trio, said ‘Mr JJ’ (first defendant) was her English teacher while she was in Form Four Sains Sukan at SMK Taun Gusi.

According to Nurul,  “JJ” rarely entered the classroom and neither was there any teacher to replace him.

“JJ sometimes entered the class but just for a while. While in the class, he was not friendly and always angry.  “I can compare his behaviour with students in other classes, for example Form Four Prinsip Akaun class which was next to our class. He was friendly with the students.

She said once when asked to teach, “JJ” said he had other matters and could not enter our class, said Nurul, who is now a warehouse supervisor.

She said she and her classmates complained about “JJ” to Cikgu Shamsul and Siti Kamisa who were their class teacher and assistant, but the teachers said they did want to interfere in the matter.

On Nov 2, 2017, Nurul said she and her friends one Suriani and Hayati met with Senior Administrative Assistant of the school, Cikgu Johari, about “JJ” who had for seven months not taught in their class, but Cikgu Johari told them they had complained to the wrong person and place.

She said other classmates also complained the matter to their Principal but still no action was taken.

Nurul said that she got grade D or E for her English subject for final exam while she was in Form Four and got grade D for SPM.

 Nurul blamed JJ’s absence for her lack of knowledge of English and that JJ also gave them leaked questions during the exam in Form Four.

 Second witness Suriana Mohammad Salleh, 21, said JJ was a good teacher to her but was very disappointed that he did not enter their class for seven months.

Suriana said in her witness statement that her class did not have any discipline problem.

She further said she and her friends had complained about JJ’s absence in their to their other three teachers but they advised them to study by themselves.

 Suriana said on Oct 31, 2017, she and the third plaintiff Calvina met with Cikgu Awang Erawan to raise the matter and Calvina recorded their conversations with GoPro.

“During the conversations, Cikgu Awang told us that although JJ did not enter the class, he did not want JJ to be subjected to disciplinary action.

“We also have a recording of our conversations with Cikgu Johari about our complaint.

“Cikgu Johari also mentioned that JJ had been behaving like that for a long time and he said they have called him.

“We did met Cikgu Rohana who then told us that nothing could be done even though JJ did not enter the class.  “She said as example Cikgu Awang who did not enter the class for one year but the action to be taken was only to cut his salary.

“Cikgu Rohana advised us to study by ourselves and did not depend on teachers,” Suriana said in her witness statement.

 The four plaintiffs were represented by counsel Roxana Jamaludin, Shireen Sikayun, Jubili Anilik and Dominic J Omok while Senior Federal Counsel Mohd Hafizi Abdul Halim and Federal Counsel Fazriel Fardiansyah Abdul Kadir for the defendants.

The trial will continue on Sept. 23 this year. 

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