Have no fear, speak up in face of injustice, Anwar tells students

Education, and Women, Family and Community Development Ministries should’ve immediately taken lead in Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam’s case, says opposition chief

KUALA LUMPUR : It is every student’s right to voice their opinion without fear or favour when addressing the mistakes of others, especially teachers, said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

On the case of Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam, the opposition leader said the matters raised by the 17-year-old should have been taken more seriously by her school.

“In terms of (imparting) education and skills, there is always a limit,” he said in a Facebook Live session moderated by cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Alhaque, popularly known as Zunar, today.

“We are instilling morals and values. 

“Should there be an error by anyone, whether it is a teacher or friend, room should be given to those affected to voice out.”

Have no fear, speak up in face of injustice, Anwar tells students
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says students must not face the risk of getting attacked simply for expressing their opinion. – The Vibes file pic

Ain Husniza made the headlines recently after she posted a TikTok video alleging that a male teacher made rape jokes in class.

Her revelation shocked the country, leading to Malaysians demanding increased safety and security for students.

Ain Husniza has lodged police reports against the teacher in question and over a rape threat she received from a schoolmate following the episode. It is understood that the second report was dropped after the boy and his family apologised.

The school has not taken action against the teacher and male student, while Ain Husniza has not attended classes, fearing for her safety.

The teenager has said the incident highlights the need for a reform in education.  

Anwar stressed that critical thinking is necessary, and that students’ voice must always be heard.

It is a strange situation in a learning environment if students submit themselves to a culture of fear and risk getting attacked for expressing their opinion. Instead, students should always be equipped with the knowledge that they have the right to voice their opinion when injustices happen to them.”

The least that teachers could do is show concern by taking into account Ain Husniza’s views and investigating the matter fairly, he said.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and student Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam participated in a Facebook Live talk today. – Anwar Ibrahim Facebook pic, May 6, 2021
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and student Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam participated in a Facebook Live talk today. – Anwar Ibrahim Facebook pic

“The Education, and Women, Family and Community Development Ministries should have taken charge of the situation immediately. 

“As a grandpa and a father, I do not view this matter lightly.

“When (Ain Husniza) brought it up, her friends should have defended her as well. 

“What sort of education system are we defending if one does not defend morals and values?”

Making clear that he is not going after teachers in general, Anwar said many educators are dedicated and well-mannered.

Nonetheless, he said, incidents such as that involving Ain Husniza should never be taken lightly.

Addressing the teen’s query on how Anwar would have handled her case had he been education minister, or if he becomes prime minister in the future, the PKR president said when he held the education portfolio, it was found that teachers and staff would often cover up such situations, so as to avoid damaging their school’s reputation.

“Dealing with an issue at a school in Kuala Lumpur once, I threatened to shut the school down should the management fail to resolve the matter within two weeks. It was meant to show how serious I was about the issue at hand. 

“I went to the school, spoke to the teachers and students, and got the headmaster transferred with immediate notice for failing to handle the issue properly.

“The message I wanted to send was that we will defend teachers, headmasters and staff as long as they conduct their duties correctly.”

Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam’s revelation that a teacher allegedly made rape jokes during a lesson has ignited debate nationwide. – Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam Instagram pic, May 6, 2021
Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam’s revelation that a teacher allegedly made rape jokes during a lesson has ignited debate nationwide. – Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam Instagram pic

Ain Husniza has faced an ordeal since her exposé, but the overwhelming public support she receives keeps her going.  

Speaking to The Vibes earlier, her father, Saiful Nizam Abdul Wahab, said the support shown by leaders of various parties, civil groups, corporate bodies and individuals has helped change society’s mindset with regard to rape.

Saiful Nizam said he and his daughter welcome the increased debate and attention on the issue.

“This is so our future generations can enjoy a better environment for them to fulfil their potential. 

“This whole journey has been emotionally and physically tiring, but this is not only Ain Husniza’s fight. It is for a greater purpose.”

Despite all that has happened, he said, Ain Husniza remains in high spirits and will continue her fight until there is a clear response from the authorities on action and change.

By : G Surach – THE VIBES

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