Monday, December 9

Dept probes assault on schoolboy

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KUCHING: The state Education Department is probing the assault on 14-year-old student, Winstien Baleng.

Datu Dr Julaihi Bujang

Datu Dr Julaihi Bujang

“We sent two of our officers to the school to conduct our own investigation,” said the director Datu Dr Julaihi Bujang in a phone interview yesterday.

Julaihi called for the cooperation of those involved, especially Winstien and his parents as well as teachers and students of the school.

He said the education officers have interviewed several suspects from the school and spoken to their parents “but we cannot confirm anything right now as we are still running the investigation”.

According to him, the claim that some teachers who knew about the attack but did not take any action was not correct.

“The teachers were unaware of the attack. They did not know. We should not accuse them of not shouldering any responsibility.

“We are taking this matter very seriously and hope to resolve this issue as soon as possible,” he said.

Meanwhile State Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary Chong Chieng Jen commended the Education Department for taking the matter seriously.

After visiting the school, the Bandar Kuching MP revealed to reporters that a teacher had asked Winstien what happened but he ran away without saying anything.

“The school told me that there were three students next to Winstien who may have intimidated him into keeping quiet,” he said, adding that Winstien had identified the students for the education officers.

Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman, informed reporters that Winstien was still traumatised and fears returning to school.

“I was also told that the school will provide counselling to Winstien so he can overcome his fear.”

When contacted by The Borneo Post yesterday, Kuching police chief ACP Mun Kok Keong said investigation is ongoing and police will get to the bottom of things.

On Jan 29, Winstien was assaulted in the school’s canteen by four strangers. The assailants rammed his head against a table, inju-ring his left eye. Winstien was unable to identify his attackers but believed they were not from his school.

A concerned parent who did not wish to be identified suggested three proactive measures to be taken by the school.

“The principal and his disciplinary masters must be tough and decisive to act without fear or favour.

“There should be frequent police patrols around the school. Better still to engage undercover cops or private eyes who double up as teachers.

“If the school really needs better security measures, then engage Rela (People’s Vigilante Corps) members.

“Parents would not mind paying extra if the safety of their children is at stake,” the parent said.