15 Teachers Have Been Accused Of Molesting Students Since 2010, But None Were Charged
Instead the Education Ministry has been simply transferring them to different schools.
In the last 6 years, a total of 15 reports of teachers molesting students were made at district and state education offices, including the Education Ministry. However, according to DAP's Teo Nie Ching, none of them have been charged or sentenced so far.
On 31 October, the Education Ministry, in response to DAP's Teo Nie Ching, told the Dewan Rakyat about the number of reports against school teachers.
Teo had asked for the number of complaints received about teachers accused of molesting students and what action had been taken against them.
According to reports, the Education Ministry said the teachers involved in these molest cases had been transferred to other districts and had been put under the supervision and monitoring of the State Education Department (JPN), adding that the "students involved have been given counselling by school counsellors."
Among them is one primary school teacher, accused of molesting nine students in a school in Hulu Selangor earlier this year, who was transferred to another school, something to which Teo Nie Ching, who is the Kulai Member of Parliament, is strongly against
Teo says that teachers accused of molesting students should not just be transferred to other schools and risk exposing children at these other schools to these teachers. They should instead be placed in a district or state education office.
It was better for these teachers to be placed in an administrative position, pending the outcome of any investigation, the DAP lawmaker argued.
"As a precautionary measure, isn't it better to put the teacher in a district or state education (post) pending investigation? Why expose other kids to unnecessary and avoidable risk?" The Star Online quoted her as saying on Tuesday.
According to Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, the teacher was moved out from the Tamil school where he allegedly molested nine students and is currently being "monitored". Teo, however, says she in unable to understand the rationale behind this.
The fact that despite the serious allegations against him, the Education Ministry somehow saw it fit to simply transfer the accused teacher to another school instead of placing him on administrative leave.
Speaking about the accused teacher, Teo said that she would be worried if she were a parent at the school the teacher is transferred to.
"I don't understand the rationale behind this decision. If I am a parent of a student studying in the school where the teacher is transferred to, I will feel insulted and worried for my child. Children are by nature vulnerable to those more powerful than they are. Shouldn't we just disallow the teacher who was allegedly caught molesting nine students to have any contact with other children?" she said.
In another case, a school headmaster in Sabah who was found uploading videos with pornographic content in a Whatsapp group was simply transferred to another school with a written warning
According to Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan, the headmaster, who clarified that the WhatsApp group was created for other purposes and not related to pedagogy (teaching) and education, admitted his mistake and left the WhatsApp group.
"However, in the event, it happens again, severe action will be taken," he said, adding that, "Every complaint which has a strong basis will have appropriate action taken in accordance with the existing procedures in the Ministry of Education."
The problem with the Education Ministry's decision to simply transfer the headmaster to another school, Teo argues, is that if he is not fit to be in the original school, why should he be in another?
The DAP lawmaker, while speaking to FMT, suggested that the headmaster should, in fact, be banned from schools for up to two years, at least.
"If the parents find out that the present headmaster was transferred from another school after downloading porn, they will be angry," FMT quoted her as saying.
In response, Education Director-General Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof said that teachers who are accused of molesting students can be transferred to another school unless they are found guilty
"We must ensure that natural justice prevails. It has to be ensured that there is no element of malicious intent and we must be firm of the prima facie of any allegations," The Malay Mail Online reported the Education D-G as saying.
"Until the investigations are completed, we cannot create a situation where someone is seen to be guilty before being proven to be guilty. The ministry is also working with the police to solve the case according to the law," he added.
While agreeing with the Education Director-General saying that "Yes, everyone is innocent until proven guilty," Teo cautioned saying that "We do not want another Richard Huckle in Malaysia"
Amidst all this, however, National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) President Kamarozaman Abd Razak blamed students for some of the sexual harassment cases involving teachers
Kamarozaman told FMT that in some instances, teachers, especially the men, were sexually harassed by the female students in Forms 4 and 5.
The question is then that why are the teachers who have been accused of molesting students simply transferred and not put on administrative leave? Doesn't this send a wrong signal to the teachers, who might continue with their perversion at new schools?
In a related incident, Terengganu state police had detained a 50-year-old teacher of a primary school in Jerteh in August this year. He was accused of molesting 3 of his students: