Establish an Ombudsman Child Unit with Representatives

By:

Fiqah Roslan

Affiliations:

The Tiada.Guru Campaign

Policy Code:

3d Anti corruption

Problem Statement:

Today, child victims of school-based abuse have fragile protections, zero support structures, often live in disenfranchised communities, and are primed to receive gaslighting, misleading, and victim-blaming attitudes by corrupt public servants that are hellbent on preventing civil, criminal, and/or disciplinary proceedings.

The MOE has long downplayed its legal liabilities—for good reason. Its legal exposure is unparalleled in the Malaysian government: some 10,000 schools, 4.7 million students, and 419,000+ public servants. The MOE is bound by one of the widest bodies of primary and delegated legislation: MACC Act, Penal Code, Child Act, Education Act, Public Officers (Conduct & Discipline Regulations) Act, Sexual Offences Against Children Act, and others.

Thus, why was the MOE not held accountable by Parliament, MACC, Police, Welfare Department, MOE Integrity Department, and Public Services Commission? In each, the lack of independence and severe politicization have created an implicit network that refuses to thoroughly investigate the MOE.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

Imagine how many child victims have fallen into desperation and anguish after enforcement agencies refused to investigate or prosecute.

When a child tells you something, believe them the first time: they may not tell you again.

Imagine the safety our students, parents, and teachers will feel in being able to report misconduct to an independent agency.

Proposal of Solution:

When the Public Ombudsman (PO) receives reports with child victims—and especially school-based reports where the perpetrator is a public servant—a special Child Unit in the PO must take over the case.

This PO Child Unit must contain:

 Experienced investigators with years of child witness and child survivor testimony-gathering for civil & criminal courts

 Experienced investigators with a deep understanding of the MOE’s corruption culture

 Experienced litigators able to protect and gather child witnesses in disciplinary, civil, and/or criminal proceedings

 Experienced abuse psychologists and medical officers able to both protect a victimized child and ensure evidence is protected

Further, the PO Child Unit should expand over time to include PO Officers placed in critically underserved schools to both investigate misconduct and enforce a safe learning environment.

At the school, these PO Officers gather anonymous and direct reports from teachers, students, and parents; gather evidence; establish whistleblower protection; and wield disciplinary jurisdiction over all school officers.

A non-exhaustive list of such critically underserved schools: high Orang Asli population, high OKU student population, high impoverished/B40 population, poor local governance/quality of public service, or schools with a history of serious and/or long-term misconduct.

Because families can finally expect an independent oversight system, Child Ombudsman Units are often overwhelmed with demand shortly after launching and thus quickly show their effectiveness, a rarity in public policy (UNESCO 2017/8 GEM report; page 31).

Additional Information:

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Translation

Isu dan Polisi Semasa:

Hari ini, mangsa kanak-kanak penderaan di sekolah mempunyai perlindungan yang rapuh, tiada struktur sokongan, biasanya tinggal dalam masyarakat terpinggir dan cenderung menerima sikap gaslighting, mengelirukan dan menyalahkan mangsa oleh penjawat awam yang korup yang bersungguh-sungguh untuk menghalang prosiding sivil, jenayah dan/atau tatatertib.

MOE telah lama meremehkan tanggungjawab undang-undangnya—atas sebab yang baik. Pendedahan undang-undangnya tiada tandingan dalam kerajaan Malaysia: kira-kira 10,000 sekolah, 4.7 juta pelajar, dan +419,000 penjawat awam. KPM terikat oleh salah satu badan perundangan utama dan wakilan terluas: Akta SPRM, Kanun Keseksaan, Akta Kanak-Kanak, Akta Pendidikan, Peraturan-Peraturan Pegawai Awam (Peraturan Kelakuan & Tatatertib), Akta Kesalahan-Kesalahan Seksual terhadap Kanak-Kanak, dan lain-lain.

Oleh itu, mengapa KPM tidak dipertanggungjawabkan oleh Parlimen, SPRM, Polis, Jabatan Kebajikan, Jabatan Integriti KPM, dan Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam? Dalam setiap satu, kekurangan kebebasan dan pempolitikan yang teruk telah mewujudkan rangkaian tersirat yang enggan menyiasat KPM secara menyeluruh.

Nilai-nilai dan Kepercayaan:

Bayangkan berapa ramai mangsa kanak-kanak yang terdesak dan menderita selepas agensi penguatkuasaan enggan menyiasat atau mendakwa pesalah.

Apabila kanak-kanak memberitahu anda sesuatu, percayakan mereka pada kali pertama: mereka mungkin tidak akan memberitahu anda lagi.

Bayangkan keselamatan yang akan dirasakan oleh pelajar, ibu bapa dan guru kita kerana dapat melaporkan salah laku kepada agensi bebas.

Penyelesaian:

Apabila Ombudsman Awam (PO) menerima laporan dengan mangsa kanak-kanak—dan terutamanya laporan kejadian di sekolah di mana pelakunya merupakan penjawat awam—Unit Kanak-Kanak khas dalam PO mesti mengambil alih kes tersebut.

Unit Kanak-Kanak PO ini mestilah terdiri daripada:

 Penyiasat berpengalaman dengan bertahun-tahun mengambil keterangan saksi dan mangsa kanak-kanak dalam mahkamah sivil & jenayah

 Penyiasat berpengalaman dengan pemahaman mendalam mengenai budaya penyelewengan KPM

 Pendakwa berpengalaman yang dapat melindungi dan mendapatkan saksi kanak-kanak dalam prosiding tatatertib, sivil dan/atau jenayah

 Ahli psikologi dan pegawai perubatan berpengalaman dalam kes penderaan yang dapat melindungi mangsa kanak-kanak dan memastikan bukti dilindungi

Selain itu, Unit Kanak-Kanak PO perlu berkembang lama-kelamaan untuk merangkumi Pegawai PO yang ditempatkan di sekolah-sekolah terpinggir untuk sama-sama menyiasat salah laku dan menguatkuasakan persekitaran pembelajaran yang selamat.

Di sekolah, Pegawai PO ini akan mengumpulkan laporan tanpa nama dan langsung daripada guru, pelajar dan ibu bapa; mengumpul bukti; mewujudkan perlindungan pemberi maklumat; dan memegang bidang kuasa tatatertib ke atas semua pegawai sekolah.

Contoh sekolah terpinggir yang tidak mendapat perhatian: ramai pelajar Orang Asli, OKU dan penduduk miskin/B40, tadbir urus tempatan/kualiti perkhidmatan awam yang lemah, atau sekolah yang mempunyai sejarah salah laku serius dan/atau jangka panjang.

Oleh kerana keluarga akhirnya dapat mengharapkan satu sistem pengawasan yang bebas, Unit Ombudsman Kanak-Kanak sering dibanjiri permintaan tidak lama setelah dilancarkan dan lantas membuktikan keberkesanannya dengan cepat, satu perkara yang jarang-jarang berlaku dalam dasar awam (Laporan GEM UNESCO 2017/8; muka surat 31).

Informasi Tambahan: