Caning schoolgirl against ministry SOP, says advisory council member

The education ministry has rules and regulations in place to protect students when it comes to caning. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A member of the National Education Advisory Council has called for action against a teacher who caned a schoolgirl in Johor, leaving red welts on her arms and legs.

Noor Azimah Abdul Rahman told FMT there are rules and regulations on caning which are meant to protect students.

She was referring to the education ministry’s 2003 circular on the matter which, among others, prohibits public caning and the caning of female students.

“These are very strict procedures, so action needs to be taken against the teacher as he breached the standard operating procedures (SOPs),” she said.

Her comments follow a video which has gone viral on social media, showing a teacher at a secondary school in Johor being quizzed by a woman believed to be the student’s mother.

The teacher explains that he caned the student because she called him “ah kua” or effeminate. He also said the girl only apologised after being caned and advised by her friend to say sorry.

The case is being investigated by the Johor State Education Department.

According to the ministry circular, being rude to a teacher is considered a serious offence warranting a maximum of three strokes on the posterior with a light cane.

Other acts categorised as serious offences warranting such punishment include the consumption, possession and distribution of tobacco, drugs and alcohol, theft and fighting.

Lesser offences can result in a student being caned a maximum of three times on the palm with a light cane, or a warning and counselling.

National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Harry Tan said it would be best to wait for the investigation before commenting on the matter.

However, he urged all parties to follow the given SOPs.

“We also have a code of ethics for parents to follow if they come to schools because of their children’s disciplinary problems,” he added.

In a statement, Education Minister Maszlee Malik said any form of violence towards students must be rejected.

“We are positive that this matter can be resolved soon according to the SOPs,” he said, adding that JPN Johor would be meeting with the girl’s parents.

He also urged the public to stop sharing the video and pictures to protect the student and teacher and to allow the authorities room to investigate.