KOTA KINABALU: Siti Nafirah, a native of Kota Belud, had filed a civil suit against the English teacher and seven others, including the government and Minister of Education, for refusing to teach English lessons to her and her Form Four classmates in 2015.
In the writ of summons, filed at the High Court Registry through Messrs Roxana and Co on October 16, plaintiff, Siti Nafirah had named Mohd Jainal Jamran (the teacher), Hj Suid Hj Hanapi (principal of SMK Taun Gusi), the school SMK Taun Gusi, Kota Belud district education officer, Sabah education director, director-general of education Malaysia, minister of education Malaysia and the Government of Malaysia as the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth defendants respectively.
The plaintiff is seeking, among others, a declaration that the first, second, fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth defendants were in breach of their statutory duty under the Education Act by failing to: ensure that she is taught the English language during the period from February 2015 to October 2015; prepare her for examinations as prescribed under the Education Act. She is also seeking a declaration that the second, fourth and fifth defendants were in breach of their duties under Regulation 3C, 25, 26 of the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993; a declaration that the acts of the first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth defendants amounted to misfeasance in public office.
The plaintiff is also seeking a declaration that the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth defendants have violated her constitutional rights to access to education guaranteed to her under Article 5, read together with Article 12 of the Federal Constitution, and damages, costs and any further and other reliefs which the court may deem fit to grant.
The suit will be heard on November 19 this year at the High Court here.
Fighting for the rights of high school students of SMK Taun Gusi, Kota Belud for decent English lessons, the ex-student said the culture of teachers not attending class, threatening and intimidating students should be stopped immediately.
Nafirah, 19, in a press conference yesterday, said she was a Form Four student of Class 4 Perdagangan (4 PD) at the school in 2015 where she felt mistreated by her male teacher, who did not attend class for English lessons for about seven months.
She said the teacher did not come to the class since February 2015 and caused students in the class, including her, a lot of pressure because they feared they would fail in English in their examination.
After being absent for several months, she said the teacher appeared before them right before the year-end examination began. She claimed that all the students in the class had failed in English subject in the exam.
“Today, I rose to raise the voice of our generation who had been in silence. I am representing the generation of students, calling on all students in Malaysia to dare to defend their educational rights without fear and favour.”
“A school is a place for teachers to teach, students to learn. However, with teachers who deny the students of their right to education and principals who are willing to cheat just to maintain their reputation, our educational rights, dreams and hopes are being destroyed just like that.”
“At the state level, I hope that the educational rights of every student throughout Malaysia will be prioritized. Never again this kind of mistreatment. When a teacher does not attend classes, it destroys our education and our future.
“I want to emphasize here. I love all the hard-working teachers, educating and teaching us. I really appreciate the sacrifices of my teachers. We all need a caring and dedicated teachers like you all. My frustration is the teacher who stole our rights, which did not teach us well so much so we failed the exam,” she said during the press conference which was held at Pacos Trust meeting room in Donggongon, Penampang.
She also claimed that the male teacher who did not attend the English class in the school was protected by the school with no action taken being against him. Currently, the teacher is still in the school and not attending class to teach.
Therefore, she questioned the school for keeping silent. This has denied the students of their educational rights to education.
She also questioned the accountability of all parties in the case, the principal who did not take action, the District Education Officer and the state Education Department for keeping silent.
She read aloud her written speech, “Teachers lose nothing if they don’t teach; students lose everything if they don’t learn” which highlighted the quality of education the students hoped to achieve in order to change and steer away from poverty.
“Without teachers, we cannot succeed, we fail to achieve our goals. Without teachers, we lost direction, we lost education. Without education, our lives are despicable and meaningless.
“At SMK Taun Gusi, most of the students come from poor and needy family. At the school too, most teachers have experienced hardship and poverty when they were students like us. Now they are all successful and their lives are better because they received good education.”
“To the teachers who abuse us, who stole our educational rights, we also want to learn. We also want to succeed and improve our family life.”
“For the sake of the future of our generation, what is more important than a teacher in teaching a class?” she asked.
Also present at the press conference were her lawyer, Roxana Jamaludin and her assistant Jubili Anilik.