View caning of schoolgirl issue from right perspective — PKR leader

Voon (centre) with Mok (left) and PKR state publicity chief Desmond Kho at the press conference in PKR Stampin office.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 27: The case of a schoolgirl being caned by her male teacher has nothing to do with race or ethnicity but begs the question whether this form of punishment to discipline a student is justified.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Women National vice-president Voon Shiak Ni today condemned racial discrimination and prejudice on social media after a video of a teacher being scolded by a woman for caning a schoolgirl until bruise marks were seen on her arms and legs went viral.

“For the last two days, the issue has escalated to the level of disrespect for race and ethnicity. It was never about race or ethnicity. The manner that this issue is played up and spread on social media is not healthy at all,” she told a press conference at PKR Stampin office here today.

“The problem we should examine is whether the excessive caning on the female student to cause physical injury is justified.”

While caning is actually allowed under the school disciplinary regulations, Voon pointed out it should be done under strict guidelines and meted out in accordance with the nature and severity of the offence committed by the student.

“In a circular to schools, caning is not allowed on female students, and only the heads of schools and disciplinary teachers are allowed to carry out corporal punishment or caning,” she highlighted.

Corporal punishment, she shared, is for serious offences and crimes such as taking or selling drugs, peer bullying and fighting.

“So, in this case, the teacher has already breached the rules and regulations pertaining to corporal punishment or caning of students,” she opined.

Looking at the injury in which six whip marks could be seen on the student’s arms and legs, Voon questioned the need to cane to that extent.

“We consider this action by the teacher abusive and not a disciplinary action,” she said.

Having said that, she also condemned the unbecoming behaviour of the student for being rebellious and disrespectful to teachers.

“As such, we believe that actions should be taken on both the teacher and the student. We hope through this incident, all parties, including teachers and students, learn a lesson to know their boundaries,” she added.

Meanwhile, PKR Stampin Youth chief Jeffery Mok cautioned that inaction by the PKR top leadership against Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz, who is at the centre of a sex video controversy, would lead to the perception that there was a ‘hidden hand’ protecting him.

“Our Youth section views the confession by Haziq (who is also PKR Santubong Youth chief) as a very serious violation of the party’s values and ethics, which is against the party’s constitution.

“Our party should never tolerate such scandalous behaviour among any of our party members, which could bring PKR into disrepute and odium,” he asserted.

Haziq has been sacked as a senior private secretary to the Deputy Minister of Primary Industries.

“As such, PKR Stampin Youth supports the call to sack Haziq from PKR,” he said.

Mok emphasised that the party’s top leadership should stand by their principle to reject all practices of ‘gutter politics’, and sacking Haziq would be a good example to show the public on PKR’s strong rejection and condemnation on such irresponsible, scandalous and baseless allegations against its deputy president, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali. —DayakDaily