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Monday, May 3, 2021

'Rape joke': NGOs disagree with school walkout, say minister should act instead

 


A coalition of individuals, education groups, and NGOs has disagreed with the call for students to stage a one-day protest or "walkout from class" to protest recent issues of rape jokes and sexual harassment in schools.

In a statement today, Gabungan Pendidikan Sejahtera Malaysia said it should be Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (above) who should take action on those issues instead.

"The focus should be on resolving the issues. Pressure should be put on the Education Ministry, especially, to take action without having to involve students in a large-scale (protest)," the coalition's spokesperson Amidi Abdul Manan said.

Amidi was responding to a group called the Nationwide School Walkout Day (NWSD) Alliance which had called for students and teachers to walk out of classrooms next week to protest sexual harassment in schools.

"We are saddened by some of these incidents, namely the period spot checks and rape threats.

"The attitude of the education minister who has remained mum without issuing any statement to alleviate the public's concern is very regrettable. Similarly, the attitude of those who hold key roles in the ministry has caused concern," Amidi said.

He said his coalition disagreed with the walkout method of protest as the act of playing truant is a disciplinary violation.

"It is inappropriate to resort to disciplinary violations just to express their view or stand. This should not be done without a valid reason. A good view must be accompanied by a good attitude. The goal does not legitimise the means.

"A walkout from the schools can trigger disharmony between the teachers and students... Dragging the students into this issue is not only inappropriate but also irresponsible," he said.

The coalition's statement was endorsed by 30 members, including Secondary School Principals Association former president Khailani Abdul Jalil, the National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students, the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement and Pertubuhan Pendidikan Sejahtera Malaysia.

Student Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam

Last month, 17-year-old student Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam shared on social media that her male teacher allegedly made lewd jokes in class. She first spoke up in a now-viral video on TikTok.

Radzi had said the incident is being investigated and action will be taken against the teacher if the claim is proven.

Ain and her father Saiful Nizam Ab Wahab had lodged a police report against the teacher in question.

The police have begun investigating the case by taking statements from those involved.

Activists from Solidariti Pendidikan, Monsters Among Us, Demokrat Kebangsaan, and Rape Watchdog have called for teachers and students to carry out the protest on May 6 or 7.

The protest, which calls for students and teachers to stage a walkout of class, is meant to call for reforms, challenge norms, improve advocacy, as well as protect and support survivors of sexual harassment in schools. - Mkini

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