Jumaat, 29 Ogos 2008

Racial-slur teachers: The courts should decide, not the police

By: DR. A. SOORIAN, Seremban

YOUR report "Difficult to act against teachers in racial abuse cases, say police" (NST, Aug 23) had discouraging news for parents worried about teachers who subject their students to racial abuse.

According to the report, police said "racial slurs could be categorised as mental abuse" and that "it would be difficult to charge a teacher suspected of racially abusing a student unless there is strong supporting evidence and witnesses who are willing to testify in court".

It had been reported that five police reports had been lodged against teachers in a school in Taman Klang Jaya for alleged racial abuse

According to the secretary of the Coalition of Malaysian Indian Non-governmental Organisations, G. Gunaraj: "On Nov 16 last year, a male teacher sent an open apology letter endorsed by the senior assistant of the school for his actions against a student and promised to change his behaviour.

"However, because he was let off lightly, he did not change his ways and this had resulted in a police report being lodged against him on Feb 29 for abusing another Indian student."
Can the police explain what more evidence they need when there is a confession of wrongdoing by the suspect, endorsed by the senior assistant of the school?

It is clear that when there are repeat racist offenders, it is ridiculous to suggest we just fold our arms and look the other way.

Nipping racial discrimination in the bud is one of the paramount imperatives of our time, and our society must act urgently and forthrightly.

Inaction on the part of the police smacks of a lack of will to execute the needful.

It is for the court to decide on the verdict and not the police. Even if the court decides to acquit the accused for lack of evidence, society would have proved a useful point in that by merely charging a suspect, it would have shaken him to the bone. It would serve as a deterrent.

Racial disharmony develops out of our inaction to preserve the bonds uniting all the ethnic groups. Unity in diversity in our country demands immediate action to rectify even the slightest manifestation of any prejudice.

NST Online: 29 Ogos 2008

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