G25 takes a serious view of the report in Free Malaysia Today (FMT) about a Form 1 Indian school girl in Butterworth who complained about the way the teacher punished her in public for the shoes she was wearing. The teacher then proceeded to cut the kayiru (holy string) on her wrist and demanded for the pottu (black dot) and ash on her forehead to be removed.
We call for a full statement from the education authorities whether there is truth in the FMT report dated 3rd Nov that she had lodged a police report on the matter. Although this matter involves racial sensitivity about race and religion, it is an issue which must be openly discussed whether the teacher was acting based on a ruling from the Ministry of Education or whether she was abusing her authority to take it upon herself to act on her personal religious beliefs.
The public will be interested to know whether religious extremism among teachers in schools is accepted or swept under the carpet by the Ministry of Education and the Parent Teacher Associations(PTAs). Continued ethnic and religious segregation and intolerance is detrimental towards making government schools the parents’ first choice for their children‘s education. We know from our meetings with senior ministry officials that they do not tolerate such abuse of power in schools. They assured us that if there are such incidents, it is the responsibility of parents to raise the matter with the school’s PTA so that action will be taken at the school level to punish the teacher accordingly.
We would like the education authorities to explain in public how this matter is being handled.
G25 Malaysia Date: 3 November 2022