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The court awarded RM150,000 in total damages to the three plaintiffs.

KOTA KINABALU: Three former students of a secondary school in Kota Belud, who won a suit against their absentee teacher, hoped that the case would serve as a lesson to all quarters, to fulfil their respective responsibility.

One of the plaintiffs, Calvina Angayung, 22, expressed hope that the victory would motivate others, who still keep their silence, to stand up for their rights.

“We were the victims of the injustice of this teacher, which resulted in our failure in an English Language examination. This victory is a gift to all who had been supporting us since the beginning.

“I would like to say thank you to our witnesses, who bravely appeared to testify in court, NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and activists, parents, friends and the community out there who have been supporting us no matter where we are,” she said when contacted.

Another plaintiff, Nur Natasha Allisya Hamali, said that she was relieved, even though it took them six long years, that their efforts were not futile, and she thanked all quarters for their victory.

In 2020, Calvina, Nur Natasha Allisya and Rusiah Sabdarin, all aged 22, sued their former English teacher, Mohd Jainal Jamran, who failed to turn up and teach them at secondary school for seven months in 2017, when the girls were 16; the school’s then principal, Suid Hanapi; the Education director-general; the Education Ministry and the government.

On Tuesday (July 19), Kota Kinabalu High Court Judge, Leonard David Shim, in allowing their suit against the five defendants, ruled that the defendants breached their statutory duties and violated the former students’ constitutional guarantee to education.

The court awarded RM150,000 in total damages to the three plaintiffs.

Lawyer Sherzali Herza Asli, who represented the women, said that it was important for the government to realise and recognise the deficiencies, and formulate policies to ensure the accountability of errant teachers for the wellbeing and prospects of the country’s future generation.

Meanwhile, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperation Minister, Datuk Ewon Benedick, who is also a Penampang Member of Parliament and Kadamaian assemblyman, said that those who are within a school ecosystem all had their own responsibility, namely teachers who are responsible to be present in class and teach; their having failed to do so must be supported with valid reason.

“While students should possess the discipline to respect teachers, yet have the opportunity to speak up to their parents, who will raise matters to the parents and teachers association on services rendered at the school,“ he said.-Bernama