Witness denies educator punished for speaking up against higher-ups in teacher absenteeism case

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Photo for illustration purposes only.

KOTA KINABALU (Nov 6): The High Court here on Monday heard that an educator, who was previously a star witness in exposing a teacher absenteeism case, was not transferred to another school as punishment for speaking up against higher-ups.

The educator was the key witness in a different suit filed by three former students of a secondary school in Kota Belud, who later won the unprecedented suit against their former English language teacher on July 19.
Monday’s trial was to hear into a suit brought by a former student of the same school, Siti Nafirah Siman against the same teacher.

A subpoenaed witness, district education officer Fadzli Abdul Rozan who testified before Justice Datuk Ismail Brahim, disagreed to a suggestion that the transfer of the educator to another school as an act of punishment.

Under examination-in-chief by counsel Shireen Sikayun who asked him, “I put it to you that you had ordered the transfer of the educator to another school in Kota Belud because of her unwillingness to cooperate with the higher-ups to cover up the first defendant’s alleged failure to teach and his alleged breach of statutory duties?

Fadzli: I disagree.

Counsel: I put it to you that your order on the educator’s transfer to the other school in 2019 is an act of punishment for her speaking up against her higher-ups?

Fadzli: I disagree.

Fadzli explained that the educator was transferred along with other teachers within the district.

On November 23, 2022, it was reported that at another High Court here, the educator had given evidence that a full report to expose the case of the teacher not entering classes for years at the said school was rejected.

The educator took a brave step to gather evidence through video recordings in a classroom and gave evidence in court that the issue of teacher did not enter classes to teach students was discovered in 2015 and a series of efforts had been taken to expose the scandal.

The educator who gave oral evidence in the suit of three former students namely Rusiah Sabdarin, Nur Natasha Allisya Hamali and Calvina Angayung, said that an initiative was taken, which was to hide a GoPro camera inside a recycle box and placed it inside the three former students’ class to gather evidence on teacher absenteeism.

The 23-year-old Siti Nafirah had named Mohd Jainal Jamran, Hj Suid Hj Hanapi (sued in his capacity as school’s principal of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Taun Gusi), District Education Officer of Kota Belud, Director of Education Sabah, Director General of Education Malaysia, Minister of Education Malaysia and Government of Malaysia as first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth defendants respectively.

Siti Nafirah, who is the sole plaintiff, had filed the suit against the first defendant for his alleged failure to teach the English Language subject to her and her classmates during his assigned periods or timetable for the academic year of 2015.

She also sued the other defendants for their alleged failure to take action against the first defendant for allegedly failing to teach her and her classmates.

To another question, Fadzli said that the transfer of the first defendant to another school in Kota Belud was made after Siti Nafirah filed this suit in 2018.

Fadzli explained that “Yes, because it is part of redeployment process of English teachers and other teachers in the district”.

Siti Nafirah was represented by Shireen while Federal Counsel Fazriel Fardiansyah Abdul Kadir acted for the defendants.

The trial will resume on November 7.