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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Radzi handed list of schools allegedly involved in period spot checks


Malaysiakini has submitted the names of 15 schools where female students were allegedly subjected to period spot checks to prove that they are menstruating.

This came after Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said his ministry's investigations thus far found no indication that such practices existed.

"If it happens, tell me at which school, so action can be taken," Radzi (above) told a press conference last week, adding that his ministry was also investigating if such incidents were taking place at boarding schools under the ministry.

Malaysiakini had received reports from students at no less than 15 schools where such practices and other disturbing incidents, which would appear to be sexual harassment, occurred.

In response to Radzi's call for names, this portal last Friday furnished the minister with the list of schools.

A copy was also sent to his deputies, Muslimin Yahaya and Dr Mah Hang Soon, as well as the ministry's secretary-general and Corporate Communications Department.

The list was sent along with other details, such as the dates of alleged offences (most of which dated from 2011 to 2018) and the wardens or teachers who were named by the students. The names of the alleged victims were not submitted.

This was done with the purpose of assisting in investigations. Being named on the list is not proof of guilt.

Malaysiakini has also contacted each of the schools for a response to the allegations. However, no conclusive response was forthcoming at this stage.

Of the 15 schools submitted to the ministry, six are from Selangor, three from Johor, two from Terengganu, two from Kuala Lumpur and one each from Kedah and Pahang. 

In the past two weeks, there have been uproars over the practice of period spot checks - which have allegedly been going on for 20 years - in which girls are told to physically prove they are having their period. 

The measures included showing their blood-soaked sanitary pads, doing swabs of their vagina with either cotton buds, tissues, or their fingers, or having a teacher, warden, or school prefect pat them down at the groin to feel whether they are wearing a sanitary pad.

In Islam, women or girls who are menstruating do not perform ritual prayers.

Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor has spoken out against this practice, saying no one has the right to embarrass girls and women by checking their private parts to see whether they are menstruating. 

Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor

Former ministers Rafidah Aziz, Azalina Othman and Maszlee Malik have all voiced their opposition to the practice, with Rafidah demanding that the Education Ministry put a stop to it and lay out clear ground rules on how schools, including boarding schools, treat students. 

Maszlee said such degrading practices must be stopped and condemned. These should have never happened anywhere, let alone in schools, where children should be safe and protected from any form of harm and abuse. 

Malaysian Mental Health Association president Dr Andrew Mohanraj, who said period spot checks are "a form of bullying" that can have a negative impact on young girls for many years afterwards, also called for the Education Ministry to put a stop to such a practice. 

A former student confirmed that she was contacted by Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) over abuse claims, which took place after Mara chairperson Azizah Mohd Dun told Malaysiakini she was opposed to period spot checks and would investigate and then issue a statement on the matter. - Mkini

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