JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malaysian police are investigating an incident in which a tuition teacher allegedly caned an eight-year-old girl for not finishing her homework.
The girl's stepfather said the Year Two pupil had welts on her hands and legs when she came home from the centre in Malacca at about 7.15pm on April 12.
He said the girl was sent there at around 2pm.
"I was shocked to find the marks and called the centre.
"The teacher said my stepdaughter is slow in learning and did not complete her homework. That's why they beat her.
"Although they had told us they were using that method to teach the children, I did not think they would beat her to that extent," he said.
He was speaking at a press conference by Pasir Gudang Malaysian Chinese Association Public Complaints Bureau deputy chairman Lim Thow Siang in Johor Baru earlier this week.
When contacted, the girl's grandfather, 63, who lodged a police report at the Tengkera station in Malacca on April 13, said that he and his wife have been looking after her since she was a baby, at their home in Malacca.
"My daughter works in Singapore and lives in Johor Baru with the girl's stepfather where he runs a business," he explained.
He alleged that this was not the first time the girl has been caned at the tuition centre, "but usually they only beat her on the hands".
The girl has been taken for a checkup at the Malacca Hospital, he added.
Malacca CPO Deputy Comm Datuk Ramli Din said he has instructed his officers to arrest the teacher.
"We are investigating the incident based on the report lodged by the grandfather," he said.
State Education Department Academic Management Sector assistant director (chief of Mathematics) Shahilan Abdul Halim said using the cane on children should be the last resort after other methods of disciplining them fails.
He said that in public schools, only the principal or headmaster are authorised to cane students if deemed necessary and backed by solid reasons.
"Discipline by caning should be the last resort after all other efforts fail," he said after attending the closing ceremony of Johor Corporation Tuition Project Teachers Enhancment workshop in Kota Tinggi on Friday.
"The approaches taken by private institutions are not under our jurisdiction... Parents should ensure the centres are registered with the authority and have skilful and competent teachers to handle the students," he added.