Malaysia has been shaken in the last couple of weeks by allegations that female students in certain schools have been subjected to invasive “period spot checks” and other forms of horrific sexual harassment, including rape jokes by a teacher.
These incidents are unacceptable: schools must be safe places for their students. There can be no compromise or exceptions to this.
It is appalling that the Senior Minister and Minister of Education Radzi Jidin has so far not taken more proactive actions on this matter, beyond vague promises
to investigate the claims.
These were anyway immediately undermined by his comment that “…we’re drilling until now, we are checking one by one, we’ve asked all divisions and the answer was no (such practices existed).”
Indeed, the Minister has not been shaken out of his lackadaisical approach despite the Malaysiakini news portal on 4 May 2021 having sent him as well as other officials the names of 15 schools where the “period spot checks” were alleged to have occurred.
The Minister hence ought to, can and must be more proactive in addressing the allegations that have been raised to him.
At the same time, this is a teachable moment for Malaysia to improve its standards of safeguarding and protecting of minors—the Minister is squandering this golden opportunity for reasons only he knows.
The youth of Malaysia are facing crises on many fronts: educations disrupted because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a bleak job market and potential disenfranchisement due to the government’s flip-flopping over the Undi18 constitutional reforms.
The failure to adequately safeguard schools is yet more proof that this current administration cares nothing for the young.
NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN PARLIAMENTARY SPOKESPERSON FOR EDUCATION
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE FOR EDUCATION
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR SETIAWANGSA