Minister: Corporal punishment in schools here to stay

Chong accused Lim of attempting to use the Sungai Lembu school as a platform to meet with the residents there due to the controversy over the illegal factory. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — The government does not plan to abolish corporal punishment in schools, a deputy minister said today amid uproar over the death of a student from alleged beating by a school staff.

Deputy Education Minister Chong Sin Woon also said it was beyond his ministry’s purview to investigate Madrasah Tahfiz Al-Jauhar over the death of 11-year-old Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi after the Johor Islamic Religious Department cleared the private Islamic school of wrongdoing, as the school was registered under the state government.

“The ministry cannot hold a special inquiry or probe the findings by the religious department that absolved the school from wrongdoings,” he told a news conference.

Chong also said corporal punishment was only adopted when all other attempts to discipline a student failed.

““There is advising and then counselling, and when all these fail, caning is adopted.

“But even that, it is done in a proper manner, which only the headmaster or principal is allowed to execute the punishment discreetly and on male students only,” he said.

Chong was asked if the government will scrap corporal punishment after the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) called for its abolition following the death of Mohamad Thaqif, who was allegedly abused by an assistant warden at a religious school in Johor.

Mohamad Thaqif was allegedly beaten on the soles of his feet with a hose on March 24, but he was only taken to hospital in Johor Baru on April 19, where he was found to have massive bacterial infection in all his limbs and kidney failure.

The Madrasah Tahfiz Al-Jauhar student had both legs amputated below the knee last Saturday and was later scheduled for surgery to amputate his right forearm, but died before it could take place.

Police have since classified his death as murder. The schoolboy’s autopsy report is expected to be ready in two weeks.

A 29-year-old assistant warden from the school in Kota Tinggi is currently under police custody.