‘Show up for school, teachers’

KOTA KINABALU: Cases of teachers skipping classes should no longer happen after a recent judgment by a High Court in favour of three students who sued their teacher for failing to turn up in school for months, says the Sabah Chief Minister.

With the unprecedented case in Kota Belud, Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor hopes that teachers skipping classes would not happen again.

“We see the case as something very disappointing as it is the responsibility of a teacher to teach students,” he said yesterday.

“Education is important and we don’t want the students to be left behind.”

On July 18, Kota Kinabalu High Court judge Justice Leonard David Shim ruled that the three former students of a Kota Belud secondary school had successfully sued their English language teacher, the principal, the Education Ministry director-general, the education minister and the government for violating their constitutional right to education.

The plaintiffs, now all 22 years old – Rusiah Sabdarin, Nur Natasha Allisya Hamali and Calvina Angayung – took the unprecedented move of bringing their former teacher to court for not attending classes while they were in Form 4.

Among the declarations was that the five defendants were in breach of their statutory duties under the Education Act 1996 by failing to prepare the three women for examinations.

The court declared that the principal was in breach of his duties under the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993.

Justice Shim said the action had violated the three students’ access to education guaranteed to them under the Federal Constitution.

He allowed for nominal damages in the sum of RM30,000 to be paid to each of the students by all five defendants jointly and severally.

He also allowed for aggravated damages in the sum of RM20,000 to be paid to each of the students.

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