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Pandelela Throws Support Behind Ain After Principal Allegedly Calls Her 'Satan's Spawn'

Pandelela Rinong stands in solidarity with 17-year-old Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam after the student receives cyberbully attacks from someone alleged to be her school principal.

Cover image via NSTP & Geraldine Tong/Malaysiakini

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Malaysia's diving queen Pandelela Rinong has come to support #MakeSchoolASaferPlace movement founder Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam after she allegedly received cyberbully attacks from her school principal

In a tweet yesterday, 9 May, Pandelela — who recently became the first Malaysian to win gold at the Diving World Cup in Tokyo, Japan — said she could relate to the situation that Ain is facing.

"Just like when I was trying to #makesportasaferplace, I was being called DIVA, with double meaning," the diver tweeted on Sunday morning.

"Dear Ain, I strongly [advise] you to stay alert as you might get sabotaged if you are not careful. However, keep speaking up for our future!"

Pandelela was quote tweeting former youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman's tweet where he calls out an alleged school principal for describing Ain as "Satan's spawn wearing a headscarf".

Syed Saddiq added, "Don't be a coward & take action before it is too late."

"I stand firmly in solidarity with @ant33ater (Ain's Twitter handle)."

Earlier reports reveal that the offensive comment on Ain's Facebook post is believed to have been written by Ain's school principal at SMK Puncak Alam

Screenshots of Ain's Facebook post about her attending an online forum show that principal Aimanaizah Sarimahmohamednor called Ain a "hypocrite" and told Ain's parents to "educate her with manners" in the comment section.

However, Free Malaysia Today reported some individuals claiming that the remarks were not made by Aimanaizah but rather by the principal's son who has autism.

The photo of Ain used in the poster shows Ain wearing a headscarf.

Batu Kawan lawmaker Kasthuri Patto shared the screenshot on Twitter, demanding that the Ministry of Education (MOE) take action against the principal for slandering Ain.

Image via @PattoKasthuri (Twitter)

The poster has also sparked backlash on activist and lawyer Siti Kassim for questioning Ain on using a photo of herself in a headscarf.

Siti's comment has made her trend on Twitter today, 10 May, with many netizens criticising the activist for supporting women to wear whatever they want on the one hand, while questioning Ain for wearing a headscarf on the other.

Ain fought back against Siti's comment, saying, "My appearance or any [girls'] appearances doesn't matter, that's literally what I've been trying to say. Don't. Judge. By. Appearances, please!"

Meanwhile, other than having several opposition members of Parliament speaking out to support Ain, UK-based surgeon Dr Nur Amalina Che Bakri has also voiced her support to Ain

"Ain has shown a remarkable level of maturity & intelligence. Adults, pls focus on the main issue, DO BETTER," Dr Amalina, who was featured on British Vogue following her wedding last month.

"No one should be subjected to any kind of threat & abuse for speaking up. It's time to take action!"

On Sunday, Ain shared that her principal sent her a warning letter for not attending school for three days even though she, had on the same day, said she would support Ain:

The #MakeSchoolASaferPlace movement started after Ain made a TikTok exposing a teacher for making rape jokes last month:

Read more about the issue here: