Teachers flee, students go on

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 25 Sep 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: All three teachers of the tahfiz where the principal is facing charges of sodomising nine students have fled the centre.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof (pic), who revealed this after a visit to the facility in Kepong here, said the 43 students were now left without adult supervision.

“They are being monitored only by the senior students,” he said, adding that all of them did not go to national schools or sit for the SPM examination.

Despite the departure of the teachers, it was business as usual during Dr Mujahid’s mid-morning visit yesterday.

Some 20 students, clad in white jubah (robe), aged between eight and 16, were reciting the Al-Quran in a mid-sized shop that doubles up as the tahfiz. It has been operating without a licence.

Exposed electrical wires can be seen dangling from the ceiling, a few metres away from the children.

Dr Mujahid looked shocked as he carried out the unannounced inspection. “Our immediate concern is the welfare of the 40-plus students here.

“We want to ensure that the institution of tahfiz will continue to be protected and improved on as it is a place where students come to recite, memorise and learn the Al-Quran,” he said.

The minister, who met seven of the victims, said Jawi (Federal Territories Religious Department) would talk to the parents and suggest that their children be transferred to other registered tahfiz.

“We will recommend them the schools these kids can enrol in as soon as possible.

“I don’t see how the school can continue with the situation it is in now,” he added.

The principal, in his 30s, is suspected to have sodomised the students aged between 11 and 16. He was charged at the Putrajaya Sessions Court last Wednesday with 11 offences under Section 14 of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017.

A teacher at the centre, after being informed by the victims of their experience, lodged a police report on Sept 13.

Dr Mujahid said Jawi had not received any approval from the relevant agencies, such as the Fire and Rescue Department and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, for the tahfiz to continue to operate.

“When we do not get the necessary approval, we deem it as an unregistered centre.

“So, we would like to remind parents that there are a lot of things, in terms of curriculum, safety and teachers, to consider if they send their kids to such centres.

“The parents can’t just surrender responsibility to them,” he said.

Dr Mujahid added that only the local authorities had the power to shut down an unregistered concern.

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