KOTA TINGGI: The mere mention of his name sent shivers down the spine of the students at the religious school.
The man who allegedly beat Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gadaffi, until the 11-year-old boy died, is said to be a very violent man who had all the students cowering in fear.
A student at the school who did not want to be named, said the assistant warden was very fierce.
The boy expressed shock when told that the assistant warden was a former convict who had spent 30 months in jail for theft.
About 30 students from the school came to pay their last respects to their friend Mohamad Thaqif at his grandparents’ house in Felda Bukit Aping Timur where the funeral was held.
The students, all in white robes, visited a local mosque to perform maghrib and isyak prayers before going to the house about a kilometre away.
They were accompanied by their teachers and principal at the funeral.
When approached, another student, who was in a sombre mood, said he stayed in the same dormitory as Thaqif.
“We entered at the same time and lived in the same dormitory. The school has four dorms and we are divided by seniority,” he said.
Asked about the assistant warden who has been arrested, the boy’s face quickly changed and he looked terrified.
“Only God knows what happened in the dormitory,” he said before walking away to join one of the teachers.
All the students seemed fearful to speak up about the assistant warden or the school.
School principal Afdhaluddin Ismail declined to comment on the suspect, saying he had been instructed by police not to impede the investigation.
When contacted, state religious executive committee chairman Abd Mutalip Abd Rahim said the Johor Islamic Religious Department (JAIJ) had already completed its investigation on the school and found that the school had not committed any offence.
Asked how the school had hired a former convict as an assistant warden, he said it was up to the school to hire anyone they believed was up to the task.
“However, in light of the recent incident, JAIJ will come up with new guidelines for these schools to hire staff, especially those in charge of the students’ welfare.
“There are at least 86 privately-run registered religious schools in Johor and previously, we found it difficult for them to register with JAIJ,” he said.