Hannah Yeoh urges government not to ignore the school issues of rape jokes and period spot checks.
A group of 11 MPs and 27 state assemblypersons from Selangor Pakatan Harapan have blasted the Education Ministry for its poor handling of the case of Form 5 student Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam, who recently exposed her male teacher for allegedly making lewd jokes in class.
In a joint statement, they warned that Ain was likely to be a victim of a failed system if the Education Ministry did not intervene as instead of lending support, she has been served with a warning letter for being absent from school.
“Ain Husniza is now a victim of a failed system that does not understand nor support girls’ and women’s rights but instead sees itself fit to defend teachers and students who promote rape and its culture of violence.
“Despite the strong policy to promote gender equality and to develop respectful relationships between boys and girls in the 11th Malaysia Plan, such perspectives appear to be lost when it comes to frontline educators.
“The tendency now is to make light of the violence and to give permission to boys to rape girls ‘above 18 years old’.
“Therefore, one can only deduce that the rape joke carries with it a possibly dangerous and implied message that if you have sex with a woman above 18 years, you can argue for consensual sex and get away with it.
“There is definitely a miscarriage of justice. The person who dares to voice up against such culture gets penalised by her own school while the teacher who made the joke and the student who made the rape threats against Ain, both get away with not even a slap on the wrist,” said the political representatives.
Ain’s father Saiful Nizam Ab Wahab said the letter dated April 28 stated that Ain can be expelled if she skips school or fails to notify the school management of her reason for being absent.
This was despite him having informed the school principal that Ain felt unsafe to go to school.
The political representatives also referenced allegations that Ain had received negative remarks (since deleted) on social media from the school’s principal. Malaysiakini has attempted to contact the Selangor Education Department and the said school principal.
“Intentionally or not, the comments have further given license to other educators and students to view jokes about violence against women as acceptable as well as to demean anyone who dares to question the status quo.
“Ain has been denied her school education and is now forced to possibly move to another school.
“Yet the school has ignored Ain’s education right and has not made attempts to ensure the environment is safe for Ain to return to school. This is unacceptable as children will take the cue from their educators and rape jokes will be normalised,” said the representatives.
They said the handling of Ain’s case leaves a black mark in democracy and sends youth the message that those who speak out will be regarded as dissidents, agitators, or worse, now labelled as ‘satanic’.
They also referenced the fact that the Education Ministry has not made any mention of Ain’s case, but instead only focused on the issue of period spot checks.
“The ministry is expected to ensure justice is served but has chosen to ignore the elephant in the room.”
They strongly urged the ministry to review the education system and take stern disciplinary actions.
“There is an urgent need to raise awareness on gender sensitivity among teachers and students, as respect, equality, and justice are values that Malaysians would want to have for a better nation.
“A Gender Equality Act as proposed by Pakatan Harapan must be in place to ensure our girls and boys are protected.
“Moving forward, the ministry has to reinstate the good name of the educational institution so as to uphold its long-standing reputation to develop first-class citizens,” they said.
The statement was signed by:
Selangor state assemblypersons
- Juwairiya Zulkifli (Bukit Melawati)
- Elizabeth Wong Keat Ping(Bukit Lanjan)
- Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (Seri Serdang)
- Lee Kee Hiong (Kuala Kubu Baharu)
- Tony Leong Tuck Chee (Pandamaran)
- Hee Loy Sian (Kajang)
- Ganabatirau Veraman (Kota Kemuning)
- Edry Faizal Eddy Yusof (Dusun Tua)
- Bryan Lai Wai Chong (Teratai)
- Lau Weng San (Banting)
- Rozana Zainal Abidin (Permatang)
- Mohd Khairuddin Othman (Paya Jaras)
- Rodziah Ismail (Batu Tiga)
- Dr Idris Ahmad (Ijok)
- Syamsul Firdaus Mohamed Supri (Taman Medan)
- Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar (Meru)
- Borhan Aman Shah (Tanjung Sepat)
- Halimey Abu Bakar (Seri Setia)
- Lim Yi Wei (Kampung Tunku)
- Wong Siew Ki (Balakong)
- Shatiri Mansor (Kota Damansara)
- Mohd Zawawi Ahmad Mughni (Sungai Kandis)
- Gunarajah R George (Sentosa)
- Azmizam Zaman Huri (Pelabuhan Klang)
- Mohd Sany Hamzan (Taman Templer)
- Jamaliah Jamaluddin (Bandar Utama)
- Rajiv Rishyakaran (Bukit Gasing)
- Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (Pandan)
- Tony Pua Kiam Wee (Damansara)
- June Leow Hsiad Hui (Hulu Selangor)
- Charles Anthony Santiago (Klang)
- William Leong Jee Keen (Selayang)
- Maria Chin Abdullah (Petaling Jaya)
- Ong Kian Ming (Bangi)
- Wong Chen (Subang)
- Sivarasa Rasiah (Sungai Buloh)
- Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor)
- Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus (Hulu Langat)
Meanwhile, Hannah Yeoh has urged the government not to ignore the school issues of rape jokes and period spot checks.
She said ministers were not paid to stay silent over such issues and urged them to be serious about rectifying the matters.
“Denying the problem is pure laziness. Accepting the status quo isn’t good enough. Keeping quiet or hoping the problem will go away isn’t what they have been paid to do.
“Malaysians expect ministers and deputy ministers like Radzi Jidin, Rina Harun and Siti Zailah to buck up and take the bull by the horns,” said the former deputy women, family and community development minister in a statement today.
She pointed out that ministers in the previous Pakatan Harapan government had been proactive in resolving such issues.
“I am horrified by the inaction of the PN ministers in dealing with the recent period checks and rape jokes news.