Education Ministry must take action in Ain Husniza's case, says MCA

PETALING JAYA: The Education Ministry must take action against misbehaving teachers, especially in light of the statements made by 17-year-old Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam (pic), says MCA.

Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie wants the ministry to investigate the case thoroughly and be accountable to Ain.

"Despite two weeks since the incident was reported, the male teacher in question and the student who allegedly made rape threats to Ain do not appear to have undergone any investigation or disciplinary action."

"Aren’t the 'jokes' and threats more severe offences compared with Ain’s three-day absence from school with a legitimate reason?" she asked.

She said the school is supposed to nurture the next generation, not only academically, but also by instilling moral values in students.

"Hence, it is disheartening to see Ain’s response to indecency and harassment not only be taken lightly, but her receiving such discriminatory treatment by her school as well," she said in a statement.

MCA spokesman and publicity bureau deputy chairman Wong Siew Mun said action must be taken against the male teacher who was exposed by Ain Husniza for making rape jokes, as well as against her principal, who allegedly branded her as "devil's child" on social media.

Wong said the warning of expulsion letter sent by the school authorities of SMK Puncak Alam to Ain Husniza for missing school must also be rescinded.

Ain Husniza, who recently exposed a male teacher for making rape jokes in class, had stopped attending school because she felt unsafe, as the teacher is still teaching at the school.

Since her revelations went viral online, Ain Husniza also received rape threats from a classmate.

On Saturday (May 8), a Facebook account purportedly belonging to the school principal left comments under another Facebook post calling the teenager a "hypocrite" and the "devil's child".

"The school authorities ought to have exercised discretion and simple common sense before they issued the warning letter of expulsion.

"As Ain’s parents have full knowledge of her whereabouts. This is not a case of 'ponteng' (skipping) class, but avoiding going to school out of fear for her safety," Wong said in a statement on Monday (May 10).

She also questioned if the school was exerting pressure to force Ain Husniza to transfer to another school by sending that warning letter.

"Is the school trying to wash their hands off the issue in the hope that once Ain, clearly a victim here, is no longer enrolled in her present school, the case is considered closed, despite the severity of issues involving rape being dismissed?" Wong asked.

She added that two weeks had passed since Ain Husniza's explosive revelations, and that the school and the Education Ministry must act now without delay.

"It is incumbent on the school authorities or the ministry to provide an explanation and/or remedial action to be taken on the lewd-joke issues raised by a student.

"The ministry must also direct the school principal to desist from victim shaming Ain any more," said Wong.

The school authorities are sending out "a grossly wrong message" by underestimating the severity of sexual harassment and rape trauma, she said.

She added that to raise awareness and understanding about rape issues, the ministry could collaborate with women’s NGOs to conduct courses for school authorities and teachers.

This could be done during the school holidays and topics should include how to recognise sexual harassment or assault, preventive and protective measures that victims can take, as well as laws against sexual harassment or rape, among others.

She added that for both students and teachers to learn, visits to women’s NGOs and shelters to listen to first-hand accounts by victims and survivors would also be helpful.

"It is hoped that after attending such courses, educators, in particular, the school authorities, will be more sensitised to sexual assault issues, and respectful of gender equality," she said.

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