Remain impartial over Ain Husniza’s civil suit, 74 Opposition MPs urge AGC

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AGC, as the guardian of public interest, should stop taking sides in this very sensitive case.

The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) should withdraw its instruction for a senior federal counsel to represent a teacher and a former headmistress in a civil suit filed by a schoolgirl and her father against them, says a group of 75 Opposition lawmakers.

In a joint statement, the group of MPs said the government, especially the AGC and the Education Ministry, should be impartial in this matter.

“The government’s focus should be the one of providing a conducive learning environment at schools.

“We stress that all must respect the teaching profession in guiding the future of the children. However, such institutions must bring forth the message that sexual innuendos and jokes on rape, especially against teenage girls, cannot be tolerated,” the group said in a statement.

Among the MPs who signed the joint statement were Pandan MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Seremban MP Anthony Loke, Kota Raja MP Mohamad Sabu and Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng.

On June 4, student Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam and her father, Saiful Nizam Ab Wahab, who had filed a countersuit against a teacher and a former headmistress, objected to government lawyers representing the duo.

In an affidavit, they said it was improper and irregular for a senior federal counsel to defend Ain’s teacher and the headmistress, the defendants in the civil case.

The group said that the act of appointing a federal counsel in the civil action to defend private actions by the teacher who had initiated the suit would further tarnish the already negative perception of the Education Ministry and the government.

They claimed that the government lawyers cannot act for the headmistress as she was no longer a public servant at the time the suit was filed.

“Ain’s case will only create more unwarranted fears and trepidations in parents and students in all our schools. It will impair confidence in the education system. Taxpayers’ money should be spent for proper purposes.

“We must also stress that we do recognise that everyone has a right to legal recourse, including the teacher,” said the lawmakers.

“However, the Attorney General’s Chamber, as the guardian of public interest, should stop taking sides in this very sensitive case.

“As the drafter of the Sexual Harassment Bill, the Attorney General’s Chamber should be more sensitive to such matters,” read the statement. – The Star