This is biggest cover-up scandal, witness tells teacher absenteeism trial

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KOTA KINABALU (April 24): A star witness claimed at a High Court here on Wednesday that three Datuks, who were former education directors and had served as the principals of a secondary school where there was an alleged teacher absenteeism issue, were allegedly obsessed in protecting their image and reputation when a suit was filed by a former student of the school.

The key witness, who was given her oral evidence before Justice Datuk Ismail Brahim, further claimed that the school, Malaysia Education Ministry (KPM), State Education Department (JPN) and District Education Office (PPD) were willing to cheat and in cahoots just to save their posts and reputation.

“This was the worst scandal because it involved teachers and this was also a biggest cover-up scandal from KPM, JPN, PPD and school levels,” the witness alleged in her testimony.

The witness was testifying under examination-in-chief in the trial of the suit filed by Siti Nafirah Siman, 23, against her former English Language teacher and seven others.

She further testified that all the parties were under pressure when this case was filed in court.

The witness also testified that at the ministry level, the education director-general (KPPM) at that time whom the witness referred as Datuk Amin Senin, was the former principal of the said school.

She then testified that State Education Director 2015 whom she referred to as Datuk Jame Alip and State Education Director 2018 whom she referred to as Datuk Maimunah Suhaibul, were also former principals of the said school.

“They wanted to protect their image and the image of the school where they had served,” she claimed.

The witness further claimed for example Datuk Jame Alip allegedly was aware of the first defendant Mohd Jainal Jamran’s alleged absenteeism when he was the principal of the school.

“When investigation into this case was carried out, I was called to KPN office and had been interviewed by KPPM special officer.

“I wrote a statement regarding all I know about this case in 2015 on several pieces of paper with the letterhead of Integrity Unit of KPM,” she further claimed.

The witness further alleged that she was told by the special officer that the evidence she wrote would be submitted to the Malaysia attorney.

“I was also excluded from final meeting by JPN when they were finalising all the documentary evidence,” claimed the witness.

Siti Nafirah, who was the sole plaintiff for this suit, had named Mohd Jainal, Hj Suid Hj Hanapi (sued in his capacity as school’s principal), 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.

In her suit, Siti Nafirah claimed that the first defendant had allegedly failed 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 claimed that the other defendants had allegedly failed to take action against the first defendant for his alleged failure to teach her and her classmates.

Siti Nafirah was represented by counsel Shireen Sikayun.

Senior Federal Counsel Jesseca Daimis and Federal Counsel Mohd Fazriel Fardiansyah Abdul Kadir acted for all the defendants.

Meanwhile, counsel Datin Mary Florence Gomez (Sabah Law Society’s Women and Children’s Rights Sub-Committee chairperson) and Yannik Mohd Annuar held a watching brief for the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam).

The trial will resume on June 27 and 28.