Teachers who sexually prey on students in Malaysian schools: Cases and action taken (or not)

Jerry Choong
Malay Mail has found there have been a number of teachers accused of sexually preying on their young charges in the last few years. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 ― The reported case last week of a secondary school principal in Telipok, Sabah who is accused of sending sexually inappropriate messages to at least two male students has reawakened fears among parents nationwide.

The Ministry of Education has told Malay Mail that the principal, who is in his 50s, has since been transferred to the Sabah state education department, pending the completion of investigations into the complaints filed by the parents of one 14-year-old boy.

But this move may not do much to assuage public anxieties, as Malay Mail has found there have been a number of teachers accused of sexually preying on their young charges in the last few years.

Some of these recent cases that range from molest to rape and sodomy also offer hope in justice being served relatively quick. Below are five prominent cases that were reported over the past years:

1. Sabah serial rapist teacher

Freddie @ Ampat Unsin was 52 when he was accused of raping, sodomising and molesting eight female pupils aged six to 10 in a school at Beluran, Sabah, between November 2015 to July 2016.

Three years after being charged and tried under Sections 376 (2)(e) and Section 354 of the Penal Code, the former primary school teacher was most recently found guilty of those sexual crimes and sentenced in August to 80 years in jail and to be given 20 strokes of the cane.

Previously, men 50 and above were spared the corporal punishment, but the law was amended in 2006, enabling those convicted of sexual crimes to undergo whipping.

2. Sarawak alleged molester teacher’s three-year terror reign

A 39-year old primary school teacher in Miri, Sarawak, was arrested in May this year after allegations surfaced that he molested seven boys since 2016. Five of the boys are now in secondary school.

The incident came to light after several of the alleged victims detailed their encounters to schoolmates, The Borneo Post reported on May 19.

An anonymous source quoted by daily said it is possible there may be more victims too afraid to come forward. However, there has been no news since then.

3. Religious teacher in Penang accused of molest, sodomy in July 2018

Police arrested a 40-year-old Islamic religious teacher from George Town, Penang for allegedly molesting five male students aged between 10 and 11 and forcing them into oral sex acts in class and in the school surau, with some of the instances occurring after school hours.

Several reports were filed and the teacher was investigated under Section 14 of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017.

Little is known about the investigation since.

4. Religious teacher who molested five-year-old girl in February 2017

Ustaz Mohd Redzuan Zakarian was 32 when he was accused of outraged the modesty of his five-year old pupil at a house in Sungai Besi by putting his hand into her pants.

Charged under Section 354 of the Penal Code for assault with intent to outrage the modesty of a woman, Redzuan was sentenced in June 2018 to three months' imprisonment and fined RM6,000.

5. Tamil school teacher accused of molesting nine in October 2016

The Star reported a primary school teacher in a Tamil school in Hulu Selangor had been transferred after it was discovered nine students had been molested.

Then-education minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the teacher in question was first sent to a district education office while the case was being investigated.

On November 7 that same year, news portal Malaysiakini reported Mahdzir as saying police subsequently determined there was no case and the teacher was transferred to another school to continue working.

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