Malaysian teacher's court case attracts rare protest from fellow teachers

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SEREMBAN - A rare protest involving Malaysian teachers occurred at a court in Negeri Sembilan on Tuesday (Dec 19) with some 300 of them coming together to support a disciplinary teacher, Azizan Manap.

He had slapped a student for allegedly sniffing glue and bullying others in April, and was taken to court by the student's family for assault, local media reported.

The case was hotly debated on social media for months as it raised anew concerns about indispline in schools and what teachers could do about it. There was also a social media campaign called #PrayForCikguAzizan, saying he was just doing his job to instill discipline.

The teachers came together at the court in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan's capital, on Tuesday, in a rare public demonstration by Malaysian teachers or civil servants.

Also present were parents, local residents and representatives of the National Union of the Teaching Profession.

The Magistrate's Court gave Mr Azizan, 44, a discharge not amounting to acquittal, to cheers and applause from the crowd.

Mr Azizan, a senior assistant in charge of pupil affairs at the Taman Semarak primary school in Nilai town, slapped the student, 11, on the left cheek at about 7am, according to The Malaysian Insight news site on Tuesday.

The incident occurred on April 6 during school assembly.

He was charged for voluntarily causing hurt and faces up to a jail sentence of up to a year, a fine of RM2,000 (S$660) or both upon conviction. He was released on a RM500 bail.

Magistrate Mohd Zaki Abd Rahman gave Mr Azizan a discharge after the deputy public prosecutor told the court about an instruction from the Attorney-General's Chambers to withdraw the charge, Berita Harian Malaysia reported.

After the discharge, Mr Azizan told reporters: "I forgive my student. I hold no grudge against him and his family members. I sincerely hope that he will be a good son to his parents."

The teacher said he will continue teaching, but will let the Education Ministry decide if he should continue at the school in Nilai town.

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