Crime & Courts

Sabah's teacher absenteeism case 'the worst scandal' - Witness

KOTA KINABALU: A witness in the teacher absenteeism case in SMK Taun Gusi, Kota Belud said the case was the worst scandal that she had ever seen as a teacher.

Nurhaizah Ejab, 39, said this when testifying before High Court Judge Datuk Ismail Brahim in the trial of a suit brought by the school's former student, Siti Nafirah Siman, against her former English teacher, Jainal Jamran for failing to teach the subject to her and her classmates for several months in 2015.

"(It is) The worst, because it involves those who hold the title of teacher and this is a massive cover-up from the Education Ministry, state education department, district education office and at the school level.

"All these parties were very obsessed with protecting their image and reputation and were willing to conspire and cheat just to protect their position and reputation.

"From the ministry level up to the school, they were stressed when the case was filed," she said.

The 15th witness was asked by counsel Shireen Sikayun during examination-in-chief on her view on the plaintiff's claim that the defendant committed misfeasance in public office.

In the suit filed on Oct 30, 2018, Siti Nafirah also named the then principal of SMK Taun Gusi, Suid Hanapi, the Kota Belud district education officer, Sabah education director, the education director-general, the education minister, and the government as defendants.

"So, they want to protect their image and the image of the school they once served," she said, adding that the former Sabah state education director in 2015 also knew about Jainal's absenteeism when he was the principal at SMK Taun Gusi.

Nurhaizah also testified that during an investigation carried out after the suit was filed in 2018, she was called to the state education department office and interviewed by a special officer.

"I have written my statement about all the things I know related to this case in 2015 on several sheets of paper with the department's Integrity Unit's letterhead.

"I was informed that the evidence would be given to the government's lawyer. But they never sent my evidence on behalf of the defendant.

"In fact, I was removed in the final meeting when they were finalising all the evidence documents."

Siti Nafirah was represented by Shireen.

Senior federal counsel Jesseca Daimis and federal counsel Mohd Fazriel Fardiansyah Abdul Kadir acted for the defendants.

Sabah Law Society's Women and Children's Rights Sub-Committee chairperson Datin Mary Florence Gomez and counsel Yannik Mohd Annuar held a watching brief for the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

The trial is adjourned to June 27-28.

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