KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry is giving the school in Kelantan, which supposedly experienced mass hysteria, the benefit of the doubt for cancelling classes on Thursday but wants a full report on the incident soon.
Deputy Education Minister Chong Sin Woon declined to comment on the incident until the ministry was fully briefed about what happened at SMK Pengkalan Chepa 2 on Monday.
It was reported that more than 100 students and teachers were allegedly overcome by hysteria with teachers and students claiming to have seen paranormal beings.
The school’s principal brought in ustaz and bomoh to supposedly “rid the school of bad spirits”. It is expected to reopen on Sunday.
On the closure and the use of bomoh in a public school, Chong said he was waiting for the school’s side of the story.
For now, Chong said the school was being afforded the flexibility to have a holiday under the same provisions the ministry would grant any other school under circumstances such as heatwaves or haze.
“They can request for holidays just like Chinese schools can request for holidays during Qing Ming.
“But in allowing for any schools to close, our first priority is whether or not it will affect the students’ studies and secondly their safety. We will wait for the report first,” he told reporters.
On another matter, Chong said the ministry would review the security company of a Kampung Baru school in Kedah whose guards went on strike and locked the entire school out after not being paid four months wages.
“I have contacted the ministry’s secretary-general regarding the non-payment of security guards. It is time to review the security companies that are assigned school contracts.
“It’s a shame for a security company to do this,” he said.
Frustration boiled over when the guards staged a strike and locked the gates of SJK (C) Keat Hwa (S) on Thursday morning.
The school’s 50 teachers, 200 students and their parents, and even canteen staff were left stranded along Jalan Istana Lama.
It is understood that the guards had not been paid their wages since January. They were owed RM5,000 each.
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