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A lesson for teachers who continue to ‘ponteng’
Published on: Thursday, July 20, 2023
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 A lesson for teachers who continue to ‘ponteng’
Another plaintiff, Calvina Angayung, said that after six years of waiting and fighting, they can finally breathe a sigh of relief knowing that justice has been served and a precedent has been set for similar cases. 
Kota Kinabalu: The three students who won a landmark High Court suit against their teacher for being absent (ponteng) for seven months in 2017 want this to be a lesson to all teachers and a motivation for students to speak up when their rights are violated.

In thanking her lawyer Sherzali Herza Asli and everyone who had supported this case one way or another, Rusiah Sabdarin, one of the three students, hopes that constant monitoring on teachers’ performance and attendance in schools will be prioritised.

She said it is also vital that the authorities take heed of complaints from students and not take their voices or grouses lightly. 

“I hope all students will have courage to voice their concerns and dissatisfaction when their rights as students are violated,” she said.

Another plaintiff, Calvina Angayung, said that after six years of waiting and fighting, they can finally breathe a sigh of relief knowing that justice has been served and a precedent has been set for similar cases. 

“It remains fresh in my memories when our teacher kept going absent, so much so that many of us failed the English subject. 

“With the decision, I feel grateful knowing that my rights are acknowledged and respected by the court,” she said.

Calvina hopes the outcome of this case will motivate others to voice out and fight for what’s just.

Nur Natasha Allisya Hamali said after years of struggling and fighting, their patience and determination finally paid off and prayers were answered. 

“There were ups and downs throughout our journey in fighting for this case, but with the support of everyone including my family, NGOs, reporters and especially our lawyer, it just kept us going,” she said.

She added that the trial and verdict has made her stronger and boosted her will and drive to strive for a better future.

Chan

Sabah DAP MP Chan Foong Hin said the outcome of this court case would go on to send a strong warning that teachers were not immune to civil suits.

“Teachers play an important role in teaching our children and nurturing our country’s future leaders.

“They must do their job to properly teach and not play truant,” said Chan, who is also Kota Kinabalu member of parliament and deputy Agriculture and Food Security minister.

Sabah Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) chief Amos Thien said every student should be treated equally.

“They have every right to proper education, and are taught by quality teachers.

“This will also send a message to students that they have rights, and that they should not be afraid to stand up for themselves if they are being affected by teacher absenteeism.

Yee

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Api-Api Division information chief, Yee Tsai Yiew wants the Education Ministry to adopt a more serious and systematic intervention in its efforts to ensure a better education structure in the country, particularly Sabah.

“It is important to work towards creating an environment where all students have access to quality education and are protected from any negligence or absence on the part of the teachers.

Yee added that should the ministry fail to effectively handle the diverse and complex educational needs of the entire nation, particularly Sabah and Sarawak, then the ministry should consider returning the education autonomy to the state.

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