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December 2018

Malaysian student sues teacher for missing classes

Matt Salusbury

Flag of Malaysia (left) and flag of the Malaysian State of Sabah (right). Image: Government of Sabah

In the first case of its kind, a former secondary school student in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia is suing her former English language teacher for ‘refusing to teach the English language’ to her, reports the Daily Express.

Court documents filed by the plaintiff, Siti Nafirah Siman, name absent English teacher Mohd Jainal Jamrin, who ‘stopped entering her class’ in February 2015 and was absent for all but a week of the rest of academic year 2015. Siman and classmates then failed their exams, ‘placing their hopes for a bright future in jeopardy’.

It is further alleged that Jamrin was instructed by the principal to fabricate his attendance record, and that he at one point ‘refused’ to teach Siman’s class - in breach of regulations.

Malaysian Insight reported that Siman told them in an email that she and her class were intimidated into signing a statement giving a testimonial for their absent teacher.

Siman’s statement to the court describes how from March to August 2015, various education officials were repeatedly informed of the English teacher’s absence and visited the school, but no action was taken.

The action seeks costs and damages against the teacher as well as the school principal and district, provincial and national bureaucrats, on the grounds that they are ‘under a duty’ to provide quality education, including English, under the Education Act and the Federal Constitution.

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