KOTA BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The principal of the Malaysian school hit with "mass hysteria" has appealed for "professional help" to resolve the situation, as the country's Education Ministry awaits a full report into the case.
Speaking at a press conference in Kelantan state capital Kota Baru on Thursday (April 14), Ms Siti Hawa Mat said the studies of students of SMK Pengkalan Chepa 2 were disrupted, and her administration was at their wits' end to find a way to rid the school of "bad spirits".
"We had to close the school yesterday. To date, we have more than eight ustaz, bomoh and Islamic traditional experts to help us chase away spirits that are said to be in the school compound," she said.
She said the closure of the school in Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan was necessary to enable the bomoh and ustaz to perform prayers before the school is set to reopen on Sunday.
Since Monday, more than 100 students and teachers were hit by hysteria. Ms Siti said the school welcomed any help from anyone who could help solve this mystery for good.
Students and teachers have claimed to have seen paranormal beings like black spectres, pontianak and pochong.
She said the school would hold special prayers for two hours with the students on Sunday together with two Islamic traditional experts.
Physical education teacher Norlelawati Ramli, 32, who was affected by the hysteria, said she felt something pinning her down.
She said she saw a black spectre right after she tended to one of the affected female students.
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry is awaiting a full report on the mass hysteria incident.
Its Deputy Minister Chong Sin Woon said he was willing to give the school the benefit of the doubt, before mulling over any action in light of its decision to send students home early on Monday and to cancel classes altogether on Thursday.
For now, Mr Chong said the school was given the flexibility to have a holiday under the same provisions the ministry would grant in situations like the heatwave or haze.
"They can ask for holidays just like the Chinese schools, which can request for holidays during Qing Ming.
"I have yet to receive a detailed report about the haunting so let the Ministry get a full report before we comment further.
"But in allowing for any schools to close, our first priority is whether it will affect the students' studies and secondly, their safety. We will wait for the report first," he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.