CHERAS • A tuition centre in Selangor yesterday apologised for putting up nine posters featuring pictures of four children, in a bid to shame the parents into paying up their tuition fees.
The unusual method of collecting the tuition fees created an outcry in Malaysia.
The operating manager of the centre, who wanted to be known only as Mr Low, admitted yesterday that the centre went "overboard".
However, he added that the public apology was addressed to only the children, and not their parents.
The tuition centre was not named by the media.
Speaking to reporters at a service centre run by the Democratic Action Party (DAP), Mr Low said: "We took such an action because we wanted the parents to pay, or at least explain why they cannot pay. One week before we posted the banners, we warned them via calls and SMS but the parents did not respond."
The banners, placed by the roadside in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, featured the children's pictures, with a caption in Chinese that read: "Owe tuition fees but refuse to pay up! Do they deserve such parents?"
The tuition centre, which was set up about five years ago, said two parents owed it five months of fees.
Mr Low said: "One parent owes us RM1,500 (S$485) while the other came to us and said that she can't afford the fees, so we gave her a discount of RM600. We have asked for the money so many times. As teachers, we try to help, but these people take advantage of us. Sometimes our salaries get cut because we try to help them."
Property agent Vinnie Chin, the parent of one child whose picture was featured on the poster, said she had paid up all the fees. "I was shocked that they resorted to humiliating my son this way," she said.
The DAP assemblyman for the Selangor district, Mr Eddie Ng, took up the issue when the public alerted him to it.
"I hope it does not happen again. As educationists, they should not learn from loan sharks," he said.
According to Mr Low, the tuition centre contracted out the job of putting up the posters to another company.
There were three posters at each of the three areas where the parents of the four children live.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK