Friday, August 15, 2008

Malaysiakini - Minister's silence on 'racist' teacher irks Indian NGOs


Education Minister Hishammuddin Hussein's continued silence on the case of a teacher who fired a volley of racial insults at her Indian students has irked the Coalition of Malaysian Indian NGOs.

In a statement, coalition secretary Gunaraj George said the teacher, who has since been transferred from SMK Telok Panglima Garang, had not only bullied the students but also sullied the entire Indian community with her verbal tirade.

"Given this, shouldn't the education minister say something about the entire episode which has not only traumatised the students but also deeply hurt the feelings of the Indian community at large?'' he asked.

He said it was also disturbing that the teacher appears to have been rewarded by being sent to a better school which is nearer to her home instead of being severely reprimanded.

"The minister must do what is right by the Indian community by not appearing to close an eye to the teacher's uncalled for behavior,'' he added.

Becoming rampant

The 35-year-old history teacher had on two occasions last month called Indian students in a Form Four and Form Five class ‘black monkeys’, ‘Negroes’ and ‘keling pariah’.

She had also said that Indians came from dogs and prostitutes and that the community's youths did not have testicles and that its women constantly menstruated.

"Isn't this serious enough for the minister to intervene? What else is he waiting for?'' asked Gunaraj.

He said that racism and abuse of Indian students were becoming rampant in certain schools and unless the minister does something about it the situation could get out of hand.

"It has also been brought to our attention that similar abuse is being leveled against students in a primary school in Taman Klang Jaya,'' alleged Gunaraj.

He said the Indian students there are constantly scolded by teachers and told to transfer to other schools.

Gunaraj said that five police reports have been lodged against the teachers to date from November last year.

He also commended the community leaders for speaking out and criticising the government’s inaction, demanding the teacher to be reprimanded accordingly.

'Sack the teacher'

Yesterday, MIC president S Samy Vellu called for severe action to be taken against the teacher, saying that he regarded her transfer as a form of appreciation rather than punishment.

Prior to this, MIC Youth's education bureau also expressed disappointment that the teacher had been let off the hook.

Also expressing displeasure over the 'light' sentence was the Malaysian Indian Business Association (Miba).

Its president P Sivakumar told Malaysiakini that the action taken against the teacher did not match the severity of the offence committed.

"A transfer would not teach her a lesson, it is almost as if she escaped unscathed.

"In fact, she should be sacked and we fail to understand why the ministry is viewing this matter so lightly. The Indian community is unhappy over this," he added.

Sivakumar said a stern action would deter other educators from repeating a similar offence, regardless of race.


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