| KUCHING - A 10-year-old boy from a mission school here was allegedly caned 10 times for bringing non-halal food to school.|
Basil anak Beginda was asked to see the school's assistant principal, Iskandar bin Fadeli, and subsequently reprimanded for bringing 'fried rice cooked with pork sausages' to St. Thomas Primary School, one of Malaysia's historical school, on Oct 15.
It was alleged that the boy was caned 10 times on his palm.
The incident sparked off a wave of anger among the PKR women who held a press conference on Wednesday to condemn the act.
They had called for the Education Ministry to investigate the matter and take action against Iskandar.
The boy’s mother, Angela Jabing (pic) with the PKR State Women Chief, Ibi anak Uding, her deputy Nurhanim Hanna Mokhsen, vice chairman Voon Shiank Ni and other representatives wanted Iskandar to be transferred.
Jabing said her son was traumatized following the incident as he did not want to bring food to the school when she insisted that he is allowed to do so.
Jabing explained that she had went to the school seeking for clarification from the headmistress, Alice Chung, four days after the caning on Oct 19.
“Chung was with Iskandar when I met her and the latter denied that he caned my son. He then said he would call Basil to explain himself. When my son came to the office and saw Iskandar, there was fear in his eyes but I coaxed him to tell the truth,” said Angela.
According to Jabing, Basil told them what happened and had told Iskandar that his parents always advised him not to offer non-halal food to his Muslim friends which he had never done so.
After Basil finished his explanation, Iskandar allegedly had said, “'Jangan besar-besarkan' hal kerana isu ini isu yang cukup sensitif di kalangan orang orang islam."
According to the headmistress, Iskandar had announced earlier February this year during the assembly that students are prohibited to bring any non-halal food products to school even for their own consumption as a noble act to respect the Muslim students.
“I am baffled by this explanation. What about the Buddhist and Hindu? Ask the children not to bring beef then. What about those who are Vegetarian? Ask the children not to bring any kind of meat then,” said Jabing.
Not satisfied with the explanation given on Oct 19th, Angela wrote a letter to the school asking for a written reply on the rules of bringing outside food into the school compound.
On Oct 28, she went to the school again with a legal advisor and was given a written reply from the headmistress the next day.
“Being a non-Muslim, I am concerned as my son was arbitrarily punished and is now in fear of the school,” she said demanding that the Education Department clarify the matter to avoid confusion and doubt.
PKR vice chairman Voon, who was not satisfied with the school's letter of explanation, said she wanted to know why Basil was caned and whose instruction was that to disallow pupils to bring non-halal food.
"Is it instruction from the Education (Ministry) or the school? Children must all sit and eat
together, not segregated. This is what unity is about. They must start young to learn to appreciate each other,” said Voon.
PKR deputy state woman chief Nurhanim said as a Muslim living in Sarawak, she is baffled with the incidence.
“This is certainly not the spirit of 1Malaysia. We are the best in the nation in terms of living harmoniously in a multi-racial state.
"If the school has no such regulation and wanted it as such, then put it in black and white. How can a teacher from here tell the pupils not to bring non-halal food during assembly and caned him 10 times for doing so. What wrong has the boy really done?”
Nurhanim asked for a probe and said Basil is only ten years old and should not have underwent such unnecessary treatment.
She added that the school should know that Sarawak is a multi-racial state where everyone lives together and therefore should not force the people apart through actions like Iskandar.
Nurhanim has also urged for action to be taken against the teacher concerned.
When contacted by MM, headmistress Chung said she was not allowed to make any comments as there is a directive from the Education Ministry.
Initially she denied being aware of the incident, but when told that she had written a reply to the student's mother, Chung said she did not want to comment.
When asked to give advice to parents about bringing outside food to school, Chung said there is no directive which states children are not allowed to bring non-halal food.
Chung further went to say that children are allowed to bring their own food.
If you were to ask me, I wonder what has happened to the brain that God has given this people. Dummkopf!!!!