Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Students to sue Malaysian teacher over racial slur

Students to sue Malaysian teacher over racial slur
Malaysia Sun
Wednesday 13th August, 2008

What began as a classroom furore in a Malaysian school may reach the courtroom, with students and the ethnic Indian community appointing a lawyer to sue a teacher who cast a racial slur.

The female teacher also allegedly called the four students 'thieves and gangsters', and wrote those words on the blackboard, the New Straits Times said Wednesday.

Lawyer S.N. Pathmanabhan was appointed to file the case even as the 35-year-old history teacher, who has not been named, has been transferred to a school nearer her home.

The teacher from S.M. Telok Panglima Garang, a school near Banting in Selangor state, has reportedly confessed and apologised, but the community and its NGOs are not satisfied.

The reason cited for her transfer, the 'so-called punishment', was not for her offence, but because of her 'safety concerns', said the newspaper.

The students plan to write to the education ministry and the prime minister's department, asking why the teacher, basically a civil servant, was being treated 'differently'.

District police chief Muhammad Radzi Ishak said the teacher would not face any charges as police did not consider the 'incident' a criminal case.

'We have taken statements from the teacher and students who lodged police reports, but referred the matter to the education department for further action,' Radzi said.

Telok Panglima Garang Tamil Association committee member Muthamil Selvan urged the education ministry to take severe action against the teacher.

Muthamil, who was speaking on behalf of the parents of the students involved, said they would give the ministry an opportunity to act before considering what to do next.

Coalition of Indian NGOs' secretary G. Gunaraj said the ministry should have suspended the teacher while the inquiry into the case was being carried out.

In the incident last month, the teacher allegedly told the students she 'wanted to test their level of patience' and began abusing them with derogatory words.

Two students later lodged police reports against her.

Several days earlier, she had allegedly entered Class 5 and called students of a certain race by a derogatory word.

She also accused them of being gangsters and thieves. She was alleged to have ordered the boys to do push-ups. When some of them could not do so, she allegedly stomped on their backs.

Some 500 parents and members of the public gathered to protest in front of the school last week.

They belong to the Tamil speaking ethnic Indian population that came here during the British era and forms eight percent of Malaysia's multi-racial 28 million population.

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