‘Student caned for different reason’

KUALA LUMPUR: The caning of a boy for bringing non-halal food to school in Kuching took a new twist after the school assistant denied caning the 10-year-old boy for it.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said he had received a report from Sarawak’s Education Department which stated that the school administrator caned the boy for another reason.

“From investigations, it was found that although the boy did bring non-halal food to the school – fried rice with pork sausages – the senior school administrator denied caning the boy for it,” he said when met by reporters at the Parliament lobby here.

Wee also told reporters that there was no written circular to ban students from bringing non-halal food to school.

“However, students should be tolerant and take care of the sensitivities of others,” he added.

On Wednesday (Nov 3), the boy’s mother, Angela Jabing claimed that her 10-year-old son was caned by a school’s senior assistant for bringing non-halal food to school.

She stated that on Oct 15, she had prepared fried rice with non-halal sausages for her son to bring to school for his recess, and was shocked to learn that he was punished and caned 10 times on the palm for bringing the food.

She went to the school to clarify the matter on Oct 19 but was not satisfied with the verbal explanation received and thus demanded for a written explanation.

However, the letter did not answer her question on why her son had to be caned 10 times for just eating fried rice with non-halal sausages.

Angela, who happened to be Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak Women exco member, brought the matter to the knowledge of the local media at a press conference which was also attended by PKR Sarawak Women leaders on Nov 3.

According to Wee, there seemed to be two conflicting reports on the incident now.

Because of this, he said the ministry had instructed for a thorough investigation on the matter and he also hoped the parents can come out and help with the investigation.

He also implied that the case might be ‘politically motivated’. He said: “I understand that the parent has a political background.”

Meanwhile, PKR Sarawak Women will hold another press conference today at the party’s Stampin division office to comment on the latest developments.

Efforts to contact Angela for her response to Wee’s statement were futile as she could not be reached.

A special meeting was also expected to be held today to settle the matter involving all parties concerned, such as the boy’s parents, school board committee, school authority, headmaster, Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), and the senior assistant.

The timing and the location of the meeting was however not publicly revealed.

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