Hundreds gather outside court to support 'Cikgu Idzahril'

Scores of people gathered outside the Magistrate’s Court in Jawi, Nibong Tebal, on mainland Penang this morning to show support for yet another teacher charged with hitting a nine-year-old pupil.

However, the court fixed Feb 19 as the final mention date for the case of English teacher Idzahril Ahmad (Cikgu Idzahril), after the prosecution failed to tender the medical report on the third mention date today, the New Straits Times reported.

Lawyer Mohd Fadhly Yaakob asked the court to grant his client a discharge not amounting to an acquittal, saying the failure by the prosecution to tender the report meant the charge was premature.

Idzahril (photo), 53, a teacher at SK Sungai Acheh, was charged with hitting the Year Three pupil of SK Sri Sentosa on Aug 2 last year.

According to a Malay daily report last year, the student’s mother had said that Idzahril was teaching in a classroom at the school when he saw the boy running on the corridor.

Idzahril then allegedly caned the boy twice on his back, leading the latter to run back to his classroom in fear.

The 40-year-old woman further alleged that the teacher followed her son to his classroom, and pulled him across the floor, before kicking him on the waist, three times. As a result, the boy reportedly sustained injuries to his waist, back and mouth, after allegedly hitting a table while being dragged.

A police report was lodged on the incident and Idzahril was subsequently charged.

If convicted, Idzahril can be jailed for a year, or fined RM2,000, or both.

More than 100 come to show support

This morning, more than 100 supporters, comprising members of non-governmental organisations, and Cuepacs president Azih Muda, gathered outside the courtroom in solidarity with Idzahril.

His case has gone viral on social media in the last few weeks, with the Federation of Peninsula Malay Students (GPMS) launching a #pray4cikguidzahril campaign.

This is reminiscent of the support shown for Azizan Manap (photo), another teacher who was last month granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the Seremban Magistrate’s Court on a charge of slapping his pupil.

Azizan, 44, reportedly punished the 11-year-old pupil for allegedly sniffing glue, playing truant and bullying schoolmates at the assembly area of SK Taman Semarak in Nilai, Negri Sembilan, about 7am on April 6 last year.

NUTP stands by Idzahril

Meanwhile, in a press conference in the afternoon, the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan Huat Hock defended Idzahril’s action. 

“He (Idzahril) only acted (slapped) once, if he did that repeatedly, he would not agree, but based on the information received, the teacher only did it once to ‘educate’ the pupil.”

However, Tan (photo)  clarified that NUTP will not compromise with any teachers who “cross the line” in punishing students, to the extent of causing physical harm. 

“Generally NUTP does not defend teachers who abuse, molest, repeatedly hit, or throw chairs at students – we will not stand by them, they have to face the consequences. 

“But in the case where there is slight rough treatment in order to educate, we think it’s necessary. 

“We urge parents of students to not lodge police reports, or go to the court (if such occurrence happens), without going to the school first to settle it,” he said. 

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