Former Student Files Lawsuit Against Teacher For Skipping Classes For 7 Months

She claimed her school principal had also tried to cover up the issue.

Cover image via Tiada.Guru/New Straits Times & Bernama

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A former student of a secondary school in Sabah is suing her English teacher for not showing up to class for seven months in a row

The former student of SMK Taun Gusi in Kota Belud, Siti Nafirah Siman, had filed the lawsuit against her teacher in 2018, after completing high school.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the case has been left hanging since 2020.

Former student of SMK Taun Gusi, Siti Nafirah Siman (right).

Image via Tiada.Guru/New Straits Times

Siti Narifah, now a 23-year-old housewife, had claimed that her Form 4 teacher was absent for many months in 2015

According to Sabah publication Daily Express, she said he had failed to show up and teach her class the subject sufficiently. The student said she and a few other classmates had also failed the subject in SPM.

Besides the teacher, she had also named her school's principal and the Ministry of Education (MOE) for failing to take appropriate action after she reported the issue.

Siti Narifah had named Mohd Jainal Jamrin (the teacher), Suid Hanapi (the principal of SMK Taun Gusi during her time there), the Kota Belud District Education Office, the Sabah Education Director, the Director General of Education Malaysia, the Education Minister, and the government as the defendants in her suit.

The student claimed her school principal had tried to cover up the teacher's absence after she notified him of the issue

Daily Express reported that the principal had allegedly instructed the teacher to fabricate his attendance record to make it seem as if he was only absent for two months.

Meanwhile, Siti Narifah also named the district education office and MOE as defendants, as she claimed some officials had made visits to her school but denied knowledge of the teacher's absenteeism.

Among others, the plaintiff is suing the defendants for:
– committing misfeasance in public office,
– breaching their statutory duties under the Education Act 1996, and
– violating her constitutional right to receive quality education under the Federal Constitution.

She is seeking damages, costs, and any further relief deemed fit by the court

According to New Straits Times, the trial has finally been fixed to be heard before judge Datuk Ismail Brahim at the Kota Kinabalu High Court from 15 May to 19 May.

The case is also championed by the Tiada.Guru Campaign, an activist group started to fight the issue of extreme teacher absenteeism in Malaysia.

Besides Siti Nafirah, who is represented by counsel Shireen Sikayun, three of her classmates — Rusiah Sabdarin, Nur Natasha Allisya Hamali, and Calvina Angayung — also filed a separate lawsuit against the same teacher in November 2020.

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