The teacher who made a student stand under hot sun until causing disabilities can face up to 20-year jail & RM50k fine

A shocking incident caused an uproar among Malaysians recently, involving a Year 5 student who was made to stand in the middle of a field under the hot sun for over 2 hours by his teacher as punishment.

As a result of the punishment, the 11-year-old student suffered from heatstroke and was feeling unwell after returning home. As reported by Scoop, the boy was too weak to bathe himself afterwards and his mother had to assist him.

He then skipped lunch and cried to his mother, complaining of a severe headache and feeling excessively warm. The parents then brought the boy to Ampang Hospital, where he vomited, fainted and foamed at the mouth in the emergency division.

According to NST, the hospital confirmed that the Year 5 pupil was disabled, with the heatstroke believed to have left him with a nerve condition and intellectual disability. The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has since confirmed that the investigation paper on the case has been referred to the deputy public prosecutor’s office, though no action has been taken by the authorities against the teacher as of the time of writing.

With all of that established, what legal action does the teacher face for their irresponsible action? Well, join us as we delve into the relevant laws below.

Section 31(1) of the Child Act 2001 for ill-treatment of children

Based on what has been reported about the case, 2 potential legal courses can be initiated against the teacher, namely criminal and civil.

For the former, a criminal investigation can be made under Section 31(1) of the Child Act 2001 for the ill-treatment, neglect and exposure of children below:

Before we delve any further, a child is defined under Section 2 of the same Act as a person under the age of 18 years, whom the 11-year-old victim of the case is definitely classified under.

With that out of the way, the teacher can be argued to have committed an offence under Section 31(1)(a) as the victim, who is a child under his care as a teacher at the school, was neglected and exposed by the teacher in a manner likely to cause him physical or emotional injury. Specifically, it can be argued that the very act of leaving the 11-year-old under the hot sun for over 2 hours is a form of neglect and exposes the victim to the health complications that the child is now suffering.

Accordingly, the teacher may face a charge under Section 31 of the Child Act 2001 and if they’re convicted, the teacher may face a fine of up to RM50,000 or imprisonment of up to 20 years or both.

Furthermore, as per Section 31(2) of the same Act above, those charged under Section 31 may also be ordered by the Court to execute a bond with sureties to be of good behaviour for such period and on such conditions as the Court thinks fit and to perform community service. Those who fail to comply with the orders of the bond shall be liable to a further fine of up to RM10,000 or to an additional jail sentence not exceeding 5 years or both.

As for the aforementioned community service, it shall be between 36 hours and 246 hours in aggregate, as well as be performed within the period not exceeding 6 months from the date of order. It’s also subject to any other conditions specified by the Court and those who fail to perform the community service may be liable to a fine of up to RM10,000.

A civil suit against the teacher and the school for negligence

Besides that, the victim’s family can also file a civil suit against the teacher for their negligence which caused the boy to suffer adverse health complications as a result of being made to stand under the hot sun for over 2 hours.

Furthermore, the school’s headmaster and even the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Government of Malaysia, if the school is a national school, may also be named as a defendant in the civil suit.

In the civil suit, the family can seek monetary compensation by way of damages for the 11-year-old boy’s health, 

Accordingly, as reported by Scoop, a civil suit has already been initiated by the family, with the teacher and the school’s headmaster being named as defendants.

Moving forward, this case will undoubtedly be a matter of public interest for the foreseeable future as the case develops further. Until then, let this be a lesson and reminder to all those who are responsible for the care of children to do so with the utmost care.

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