Parents Meet With Principal Education Officers Over Conversion Claims


 


Parents of the Form Three student who was caught up in the alleged conversion attempt by a teacher have met with the school’s principal and district education officers over the allegations.
Hindu Agamam Ani Malaysia Association chairperson Arun Dorasamy revealed to Malaysiakini that the meeting was held at 8.30 this morning at the school in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysiakini also visited the school and attempted to speak with the principal personally, but the request was declined as the principal did not want to interfere with the ongoing investigations.
According to Arun, the principal personally reached out to him yesterday afternoon requesting to discuss with the parents along with officers from the Bangsar Pudu district education department.
This was regarding the teacher who allegedly told one of his students to embrace Islam to boost his chances of becoming a national footballer, which Malaysiakini reported yesterday.
“The parents told the principal that in their opinion, teachers should not be preaching in an official WhatsApp group created for educational purposes.
“They said the teacher’s actions should not be taken lightly or as a joke.
“They also stressed to the principal that the teacher had been preaching to their son for the past six months, causing the boy to shy away from his own religion,” the chairperson said.
Arun described the meeting as civil. However, both the school and the district education officers stated that they were unable to take any actions as of now because the police are still in the middle of investigations.
For the time being, all parties agreed that the student will no longer sit in any classes taught by the teacher, Arun said.
“The principal also assured the parents that, as the boy will enter Form Four in a month, the aforementioned teacher generally does not handle any of the upper-form classes so the chances of them interacting again would be slim,” he added.
Today, Cheras district police chief Zam Halim Jamaluddin said an investigation is being conducted under Section 298A of the Penal Code, which covers causing disharmony or feelings of enmity or ill-will on religious grounds.
“The police have recorded statements from several witnesses and advised the public not to speculate,” he said.
Segregation according to religion claim
An additional claim made by the boy’s mother was that the school practised religious segregation.
It was alleged that the “first” classes of each form were reserved only for Muslim students - this was presented during the meeting as well.
“The principal told the parents that since 2018, the school dropped the grading system where higher performing students were placed in the front classes and lower performing ones were placed in the last classes.
“The principal also said that now, all students regardless of their grades are mixed together in an effort to improve their studies and discipline.
“They explained that the school only had two religious teachers and that to save time and resources, the school body decided to reserve the first class for Muslim students.
“They said this makes it easy to gather students from other classes in one place when it came to their Islamic religious studies,” Arun stated.
Hindu Agamam Ani Malaysia Association chairperson Arun DorasamyThe parents had told the principal that they were unaware that the grading system had been dropped and stated that their son, who is in the third class of his batch, was also in the dark about the changes.
Arun claimed that it was agreed at the meeting that the school would be more transparent with its students on this matter once the conversion allegations have been resolved.
MOE to investigate
In a statement, the Education Ministry said it has received initial feedback from the Kuala Lumpur Department of Education regarding the allegations.
It said an initial investigation has been carried out immediately to verify the validity of the information.
The ministry did not reveal the contents of the initial feedback but said it would take appropriate action against parties who use race or religion as a tool.
“The Education Ministry views this issue seriously and insists that religious matters cannot be used as a tool to threaten racial and the nation’s harmony.
“In connection with that, further investigation and appropriate action will be taken against any party found to be making racial or religious insults,” it said.
‘We will give them time’
Meanwhile, Arun told Malaysiakini that the parents have agreed to give space to the appropriate authorities to settle the incident as the police investigations are still ongoing.
The parents then said, via Arun, that this should serve as a warning and a lesson to the public education system.
“They hope that their reaction was not seen by the public as a form of attack - they only want their son, and children in similar positions, to be respected.
“The teacher can preach his religion anywhere he wants to but not on school grounds and in a formal educational setting where minors are involved.
“The parents hope that educators all over the country realise the depth of this problem and how it could impact the students,” he said.
In closing, Arun repeated the parents' request to have the teacher face stern disciplinary action from the authorities and be transferred to a different school. - Mkini


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