The unacceptable practice of period spot checks against female students during Ramadan in schools will be investigated, according to Women, Family, and Community Development Minister Rina Harun
Rina Harun, who was talking to the media after launching the 2021 Srikandi Muda Leadership Empowerment programme on Friday, 23 April, expressed shock over the practice.
"In today's age and time, this is really shocking and cannot be accepted," she said, adding the Women, Family, and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) views the issue seriously and investigate and monitor schools allegedly conducting these period spot checks against female students.
Relevant authorities will be engaged to ensure this practice ends
"This is unacceptable and shouldn't happen in schools. I will follow up with the relevant ministries, such as the Ministry of Education, and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), so that this doesn't happen again," she said.
The Minister's statement comes after MARA chairman Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun stated that they have begun an internal investigation on the allegations involving MARA Junior Science Colleges (MRSM)
"MARA will not compromise with any form of misconduct involving its personnel, let alone anything that involves the safety of students at MARA educational institutions," Datuk Azizah was quoted as saying.
According to her, stern action will be taken against those found to be involved.
"This includes sexual harassment, as well as the exploitation of women and children," she added.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) Commissioner for Children Noor Aziah Mohd Awal has asked the government to charge all the teachers who are found guilty under the Child Act 2001 or Sexual Offences against Children Act 2017
In a statement, the Suhakam Commissioner for Children said that a clearer disciplinary guideline must be developed to ensure such acts against female students are not repeated in the schools.
According to Noor Aziah, period spot checks, physically-invasive spot checks for "forbidden items", child grooming, molestation, slapping, and pinching of nipples as forms of punishment and other invasive acts are prohibited under the law as these acts also go against disciplinary directives published by MOE.
"Pursuant to Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which was ratified by Malaysia in 1995, a state party is obliged to ensure that schools implement discipline in accordance with the rights and dignity of children," she said, as reported by Free Malaysia Today.
"Under the same Convention, Articles 16, 19, and 36 respectively state that a child has a right to privacy, protection from abuse, violence and neglect, and protection from other forms of exploitation that include sexual exploitation and harassment."
Over the week, SAYS reported about the disturbing stories of sexual harassment and abuse female students suffered in school: