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School CP - July 2001

masthead Malay Mail, Kuala Lumpur, 16 July 2001

Epileptic Boy Caned By Guard

By Marhalim Abas

AN epilepsy-prone pupil was allegedly caned by a security guard at Sekolah Menengah [secondary school - C.F.] Kebangsaan Pandan Indah.

The boy, K. Surish Kamar, 13, said he was caned thrice at the school's premises in Kampung Pandan by the guard, who took on the role of a disciplinary master, apparently on suspicion that he had played truant.

The boy's mother, M. Ratnakumari, a 41-year-old factory worker, was fuming at the guard's bullying ways and had lodged a police report against him.

In the incident on Thursday, she said the guard chased and struck the Form One student with a cane - despite the student cowering behind a teacher in a classroom.

"Fortunately, the caning incident did not trigger epileptic seizures in my son.

"Although the swellings on the legs have almost disappeared, Surish is still afraid of returning to school today (Monday)," she said.

When Ratnakumari went to the school to pick up Surish at 6.30pm that day, he did not tell the single mother he had been caned by the guard.

But his schoolmates informed her about the incident.

She confronted the guard and told him that he had no right to hit her son.

"The guard replied the school had given him the authority to cane any student who broke regulations.

"When I told him that the caning could trigger epileptic fits in my son, he remarked he did not see signs written on her son's forehead that he was suffering from such seizures! I nearly blew my top when he said that. The guard said he did not care what I wanted to do next, and claimed no one could touch him as he was protected by the Education Ministry.

"As a mother, I do not even hit my son because I am afraid it will lead to seizures." The next day, Ratnakumari took her son to the Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia for medical checks before lodging a report at the Pandan Indah police station.

She sent her son home before she, accompanied by a family friend, went back to the school to speak to the principal.

There, a man claiming to be a committee member of the school's Parent-Teacher Association, warned her against making any complaint.

"He told me that my son would be in trouble if we pursued the matter. He also said that if we did not like the school, we could move to another," he said.

But Ratnakumari was more concerned for the well-being of her son and her other two children who are studying at the school.

"The principal did not say anything about the caning incident but she told me that the school authorities did not permit the security guard to cane the pupils," she said.

Ratnakumari wanted the guard sacked for caning her son.

"Imagine what might have happened had my son suffered fits after the guard caned him? My son is a good boy. I did not think he had played truant.

"Even if he did, only the principal has the right to use the cane," she said.

İNew Straits Times (M) Berhad

masthead Malay Mail, Kuala Lumpur, 17 July 2001

Caning Of Student By Security Guard

Police Step In

By Lionel Morais

POLICE are looking into the case of an epileptic schoolboy who was allegedly caned by a security guard at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pandan Indah last week.

The Malay Mail yesterday front-paged a report stating that the school's prinicipal had denied authorising the guard to use the rotan on pupils.

But a photograph taken of the guard during a school photo session clearly shows the guard seated with a cane across his lap.

It is learnt that police are investigating this aspect - did the school authorities empower the guard to cane pupils? Police have recorded a statement from the guard and sent the investigation papers to the Deputy Public Prosecutor's office for further instructions.

It is learnt that police have classified the case as voluntarily causing hurt with weapons or means, a charge under Section 324 of the Penal Code.

Hulu Langat Deputy OCPD (Ampang) Supt Azmi Hashim, who confirmed that police were waiting for further investigations from the DPP, declined to elaborate.


The mother, M. Ratnakumari, a 41-year-old factory worker, had claimed that when she questioned the guard, he replied that the school had given him the authority to cane any student who broke regulations.

İNew Straits Times (M) Berhad

masthead Malay Mail, Kuala Lumpur, 18 July 2001

Suspend the guard!

By Lionel Morais

"SACK the guard, or at least suspend him until the investigations are over." Federal Territory MIC secretary Senator M. Saravanan made this call after an epileptic schoolboy was allegedly caned by a security guard in his school for playing truant.

He said a security guard hired by a school was responsible for the safety of its pupils and the school premises - not take on the role of a disciplinary teacher.

"If the school insists in giving powers to its security guards to instil discipline, then they are better off hiring thugs to perform these duties," Saravanan told The Malay Mail.

"It is incidents like these which create hatred against the Government." With this in mind, Saravanan yesterday wrote to the Education Minister, the State Education director and the Hulu Langat police chief, urging them to look into this matter seriously.

"The Ministry should act quickly as its name has been dragged into this by the guard concerned," he said.

In a front-page report in The Malay Mail on Monday, the guard had allegedly told the boy's mother, factory worker M. Ratnakumari, that he was protected by the Ministry and that no one could touch him.

This came about after Ratnakumari, 41, had confronted the guard for allegedly caning her son, K. Surish Kumar, 13.

Surish, of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pandan Indah, was caned thrice at the school's premises by the guard for allegedly playing truant.

The boy was beaten, despite taking cover behind a teacher.

Saravan said this incident would only instil fear among the pupils which could deter them from attending classes.

"There are guidelines set down by the Education Ministry on caning pupils, and it can only be carried out by disciplinary teachers.

"This case is absurd. I contacted the school and was told by the principal that the boy had disciplinary problems," he said.

"But that doesn't mean the school can authorise their security guards to discipline him. This is totally unacceptable." Hulu Langat police deputy chief, (Ampang) Superintendent Azmi Hashim, said police had classified the case as assault under Section 323 of the Penal Code.

He said police had completed their investigations and were waiting for the medical report on the boy, which was expected to be released today.

"We will then hand over the investigation papers to the Deputy Public Prosecutor's office for further instructions," he said.

İNew Straits Times (M) Berhad

masthead Malay Mail, Kuala Lumpur, 19 July 2001

School guards cannot cane pupils!

By Shahrul Hafeez

IT'S confirmed: School security guards are not authorised to cane students! Or, for that matter, mete out any other form of punishment.

Such authority is only granted to teachers, presumably disciplinary masters, and to be executed in the most specific of instances.

Education Director-General Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat said no principal should be giving such authorisation to security guards, enabling them to cane pupils whatever the case might be.

"Security guards are not disciplinarians. If they witness truancy or any wrong-doing on the part of pupils, their role is to merely report the matter to the school authorities," he said.

Abdul Rafie, met at the Ministry after a post-Cabinet meeting, said security guards in schools should not take it upon themselves to mete out punishment.

There is no such thing as a 'hands-on approach' where disciplinary action is concerned, he said.

"This is the sole task of the teachers who are given such responsibility and authority by the respective school principals." On claims that there was such an authority given by the school, Abdul Rafie said proof in documentation should be shown as it was a serious allegation.

Stating that the matter had not been referred to him yet, he gave an assurance that it would be investigated.


Meanwhile, Education Ministry parliamentary secretary, Datuk Mahadzir Khir, said the Ministry had asked for a report and viewed the matter seriously.

İNew Straits Times (M) Berhad

masthead Malay Mail, Kuala Lumpur, 20 July 2001

Happy ending for Surish and mom

By Shahrul Hafeez

APOLOGIES, at long last, for a regrettable episode of overzealous disciplining.

Yesterday, mother, security guard and the school authorities sat down together, and found an amicable solution to the furore where her son was caned by the guard at Sekolah Menengah Pandan Indah.

The matter came to a close following a closed-door meeting at the school with factory worker M. Ratnakumari accepting the apology of the guard, Abdul Rashid Abdullah, for his overzealous action in caning her son, Form One student, R. Surish Kamar, 13.

The Malay Mail learnt that it was the second such meeting, and that the first saw Surish shaking the hand of the guard who had caned him thrice last Thursday.

Then it was time for Abdul Rashid to make peace with Ratnakumari.

The 42-year-old man was said to have promised that he would look after Surish like his own son. The school had also given an assurance that Ratnakumari could approach the authorities, should there be a problem related to her son's studies.

To this, Ratnakumari said she did not harbour any ill-will towards the school staff who, knowing Surish's condition, were kind and caring towards him.

Ratnakumari's acceptance of the positive turn of events was crucial as she was also at the receiving end of the guard's wrath when he told her that no one could touch him as he was 'protected' by the Education Ministry.

A cooling-down period and counselling from the school's staff had helped the guard see the error of his outburst.

Speaking on behalf of the school, its PTA president Shamsuddin Mohd Daud, said the guard had misunderstood the limits of his task in looking after the school's security aspects.

"The cane has been taken away from him and the school promises that such incidents will not recur." Meanwhile, Ratnakumari said she would withdraw the police report lodged by Surish at the Pandan Indah police station.

"Hoever, I would like to hold the school to its assurances on the incident not recurring, as I want to put it behind me for the sake of both my son and my daughter." It could not be confirmed whether any action would be taken against Abdul Rashid.

İNew Straits Times (M) Berhad

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İ Colin Farrell 2001
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