Open Letter to Fadhlina Sidek: Your Absent Teacher High Court Trial

To: the Minister of Education. From: MOE Teacher Whistleblowers.

For the past seven years, four rural Sabahan girls of SMK Taun Gusi, Kota Belud, Sabah (school code: XEA5351) have been victims-turned-whistleblowers against Ministry of Education abuse of power, threats, violence, and negligence in rural Sabah.

How? In a historic first, these girls captured undercover video & audio footage of their teachers, administrators, and fellow students, establishing clear evidence their teacher refused to teach for months and their school administrators covered it up. With this evidence, they summoned the MOE and six other Defendants to High Court. For the Plaintiffs' unprecedented persistence, a High Court injunction confirmed they were intimidated by MOE officers’ during trial preparation. Outrageously, the witnesses with evidence were attacked–this case is the antithesis of integrity and human dignity.

Few in our history have been raised with so little, yet fought so compassionately as these four High Court Plaintiffs:

  • Siti Nafirah: mother of two; raised by a single mother
  • Calvina: a fisherman’s daughter; her family survived years w/o electric supply
  • Rusiah: a chicken farmer’s daughter; her family nearly beat her with kayu broti after she refused to withdraw her litigation
  • Nur Natasha: an ex-police officer’s daughter; forced by her family to drop her future studies after she refused to withdraw her litigation

Their experiences are not unique in viciousness, but they are unique in evidence. A significant # of our schools exhibit the same modus operandi of cover-ups in cases of sexual abuse, bullying, racism, fraud, corruption, and negligence. These cover-ups signal that the MOE’s Director General, Integrity Unit, NAZIR Unit, Legal Affairs Unit, and Special Officers will never be truthfully informed by the state JPN, district PPD, school administrators, nor teachers until it is too late.

After decades of inaction, these students blew the whistle to protect themselves and their community from dangerous MOE officers. In October 2022, their audio & video recordings were adduced in an unprecedented High Court trial (BKI-22NCvC-88/11-2020) against the Ministry of Education, school principal, and teacher. These young women are inspiring the nation from their kampung in one of Malaysia’s ten poorest districts (P169 Kota Belud).

These moments are rare, YB Fadhlina.

As a mother, an esteemed lawyer, an activist, and Member of Parliament, the Minister of Education has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and uncommon authority to act expeditiously to protect the administration of justice. As MOE whistleblowers, we know that these girls’ stories could have been our stories.

What would we expect from a Ministry led by human dignity? What would we know if the Ministry turned the other cheek even when presented with clear and confirmed abdication of the law?

Immediate Actions to Protect the Students, Teachers, and the Institution

These actions are emergency measures–the High Court trial continues on 10 - 11 January 2023 where multiple teachers will testify. The MOE cannot become a legal vehicle for errant, corrupt, and violent MOE officers to protect their own skins.

  1. YB Fadhlina is RECOMMENDED to issue a Ministry circular reminding schools, PPDs, JPNs, and MOE officers that any formal or informal retaliation against a whistleblower is a major disciplinary offence. Under MACC Act 2009, definition (f), protection of misconduct is criminal gratification.
  2. YB Fadhlina is RECOMMENDED to confirm and monitor whistleblower protection in a most basic capacity: teachers testifying in Court that expose misconduct must be protected from retaliation. While such protection may be “guaranteed” by the Ministry and in sanitised Courtrooms, it is simply not the reality on the ground for schools in rural, interior, and / or poor communities.
  3. YB Fadhlina is RECOMMENDED to issue a formal apology to the three young Plaintiffs, after being subjected in September 2021 to a High Court injunction for obstructing the administration of justice. When the High Court hearing showed obstruction, the previous Minister of Education did not act. What example has been set by the Ministry? The MOE is also RECOMMENDED, using the Plaintiffs’ undercover audio recording submitted in High Court via their injunction, to explore relevant disciplinary actions against the named MOE officers who allegedly  committed blatant, irresponsible, and malicious misconduct against Sabahans & the Court.
  4. YB Fadhlina is RECOMMENDED to review significant claims made by the recent teacher whistleblower at the November High Court trial date. Her undercover video footage showed weeks of empty 1st Defendant classrooms–she seemingly directly contradicts the Ministry of Education’s legal Defence that the 1st Defendant entered his class consistently. Yet she remains another unprotected whistleblower. Her claims further include:
  • The 1st Defendant  (Teacher Jainal Jamran) threatened to kill her to prevent her from exposing his misconduct. Two senior teachers intimidated her to prevent further disclosure, telling her to “jaga imej sekolah”.
  • The 2nd Defendant (Principal Suid Hanapi) had repeatedly rejected evidence of the 1st Defendant’s absenteeism submitted to him, so as to protect the misconduct of his subordinate and himself after refusing to act for years.
  • The 2nd Defendant (Principal Suid Hanapi) had consistently fabricated school data and reports, confirmed in an undercover recording of a senior male teacher at the same school. The 2nd Defendant’s goal was seemingly to secure his image and reputation as Pengetua Cemerlang.
  • The 1st Defendant (Teacher Jainal Jamran) was absent in 4SS in September 2017, as captured by dozens of undercover classroom GoPro video recordings that exposed brazen lies by the Defendants’ Defence that claimed “Paragraph 14 of the Statement of claim is denied. The 1st Defendant has never abandoned his duties to teach the students of 4SS or failed, refused, and or/neglected to enter the class.”

Enough is enough. The Ministry of Education’s legal, moral, and public responsibilities are now put to the test. This 2015-era cadre of officers, from the MOE, JPN, PPD, and school, have repeatedly claimed they were honest, the Plaintiffs had lied, yet they produced little evidence, and then threatened student survivors and teacher witnesses.

The MOE should now welcome an open policy for school whistleblowers to speak up on misconduct & abuse to eliminate the fear, apathy, and silence on our open secrets.

This letter was sent to the CSO Platform for Reform and then to Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek in the last week of December 2022. Malaysia's Minister of Education has been a Defendant for four years now. Meanwhile, we have had three days of trial since GE15: 23 November 2022, 10 January 2023, and 11 January 2023. To date, the Ministry of Education has not publicly enacted any of these recommendations. This copy of the letter has been slightly edited to protect confidentiality of whistleblowers and for clarity.


"The culture of fear for speaking up must end.”

Mt. Kinabalu, Sabah | Ong Cheng Zheng ⤤ on Unsplash ⤤