Trials against ‘absent teacher’ begin this month

Taking action: (from left) Calvina, Nur Natasha, Rusiah and Siti Nafirah speaking at a press conference in Penampang.

KOTA KINABALU: Two civil cases against an English-language teacher from a rural secondary school in Sabah’s northern Kota Belud district over absenteeism are set to begin in the High Court here this month.

The first lawsuit was filed by former SMK Taun Gusi student Siti Nafirah Siman in October 2018 in which she named eight defendants including the teacher, principal, district education officer, state education director, Education Minister and Federal Government.

Siti Nafirah, who is now 22, claimed the teacher had failed to turn up to teach the subject for seven months in 2015.

She also claimed the defendants had taken no reasonable action despite being notified of the matter.

At a press conference in Penampang near here yesterday, she said her trial is scheduled to take place from Sept 12, almost four years after she filed the case in court.

The second lawsuit was filed by a group comprising Rusiah Sabdarin, Nur Natasha Allisya Hamali and Calvina Angayung, all former SMK Taun Gusi students as well, against the same teacher in December 2020.

Besides the teacher, they also named the principal, Education director-general, Education Minister and Federal Government as defendants.

They also said they had obtained a restraining order from the High Court against the teacher, principal, Education director-general and Education Minister – the first, second, third and fourth defendants – on Sept 7 last year.

The injunction, they said, was to restrain the defendants from taking extrajudicial actions to harass the plaintiffs.

Rusiah, Nur Natasha and Calvina, whose trial is set to begin on Monday – almost two years after their case was filed – said they decided to proceed with the litigation against the teacher and others after being inspired by the bravery shown by their senior Siti Nafirah.

The trio, all aged 21 now, said they filed the lawsuit claiming the teacher had refused to enter their class for over four months in 2017 when they were still 16 years old.

Siti Nafirah said she was looking forward to their cases being heard in open court.

“I want all of Malaysia to hear from my side and the ministry’s side. I want the evidence submitted in open court. I want you to see what I saw. And then, let an independent judge question us all,” she said.

The four plaintiffs will be represented by a legal team comprising Roxana Jamaludin, Shireen Sikayun, Jubili Anilik and Dominic J Omok.

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