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Students complained late, says ex-principal
Published on: Thursday, January 12, 2023
By: Cynthia D Baga
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Students complained late, says ex-principal
Suid (left) talking to Senior Federal Counsel Mohd Hafizi Abd Halim (right) and Federal Counsel Fazrul Fardiansyah Abdul Kadir.
Kota Kinabalu: A former principal among being sued by three former secondary students in Kota Belud for allegedly refusing to teach the English subject six years ago, said the students’ complaint of the teacher’s absenteeism was futile.

Suid Hanapi told High Court Judge Leonard David Shim this was because they complained only at the end of the year.

“If they had complained at the beginning of the year, I would have taken appropriate action. If they were really sincere in learning, this matter should be informed from the beginning.

“I received their (students) complaint at the end of 2017, which was in November,” said Suid who was the second witness in the suit filed by the students of SMK Taun Gusi, Kota Belud. They were Rusiah Sabdarin, Nur Natasha Allisya Hamali and Calvina Angayung.

The students named Mohd Jainal Jamran, Suid (in his capacity as principal), Director-General of Education Malaysia, Minister of Education Malaysia and the Government of Malaysia as the first, second, third, fourth and fifth defendants.

They had claimed, among others, that Mohd Jainal failed to turn up in class to teach the subject for seven months in 2017, while the other defendants took no reasonable action despite being notified of the matter.

In Suid’s witness statement, he said to avoid continued complaints against Mohd Jainal, in the following year (2018), he instructed one teacher, Norhana, to replace Mohd Jainal with another teacher to teach English in 5 Sains Sukan (SS).

During cross-examination by counsel Sherzali Herza Asli, Suid agreed that as principal, he must take action against any serious violations committed by teachers.

He also agreed that any issue regarding “cikgu ponteng sekolah” is a very serious offence.

To a question by Sherzali, Suid said he did not know Mohd Jainal admitted under cross-examination that he (Mohd Jainal) was absent on numerous occasions in his scheduled English classes for 4SS in 2017.

Third witness Language Department Head of the school, Norhana Idek, said she was approached by several students who complained about Mohd Jainal’s absenteeism in 4SS class at the end of October or early November 2017.

She said if the students were really serious, they should have done so earlier.

During cross-examination, Norhana who is currently District Education Assistant Officer in Kota Belud, admitted she was aware of Mohd Jainal’s absenteeism not just in 2017 but years before that. She also agreed that any teacher’s absenteeism from teaching is a serious offence.

In earlier cross-examination for Mohd Jainal, he said “correct” when Sherzali suggested that he allegedly did not enter the 4SS class to teach the students between March and September 2017, based on two documentary evidences produced.

Mohd Jainal testified that it was correct based on documents certified by the State Education Department and Integrity Sector where the record showed he did not enter the said class on March 30, 2017.

He said he did not enter class on March 30, 2017 because he did not come to school even though the record book for teachers or buku kawalan showed he was scheduled to enter the class.

Mohd Jainal also agreed he was absent for 11 times in August and September 2017, according to the documents

Senior Federal Counsel Mohd Hafizi Abd Halim, together with Federal Counsel Fazrul Fardiansyah Abdul Kadir, acted for the defendants.

The plaintiffs had called 10 witnesses and only three witnesses testified for defendants during the hearing.

The court informed both parties that the Notes of Proceedings would be supplied on Feb 13 and parties to file and exchange written submissions simultaneously by March 13, parties to file and exchange written submission in reply, if any by March 27.

The court also set Apr 12 for clarification of submissions via Zoom.

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