PUTRAJAYA: The actions of a teacher who had been accused of making jokes about rape during class cannot be dismissed as trivial, the women, family and community development minister said today.
Rina Harun added that stern action should be taken against the teacher if the allegations are proven.
She said the matter is being taken seriously, adding that such actions were most unprofessional.
Rina said as adults, we need to be aware there are limits, especially when communicating to children in a classroom, so that they do not feel emotionally disturbed by the morals and behaviour of their teachers.
“In any situation, such a thing should not be joked about as the act of rape is a criminal offence,” she said in a statement.
Rina said sexist jokes such as rape and body shaming should be stopped.
“Actions like these, including victim-blaming, are highly inappropriate as it sends an unhealthy message to society. I fear that it could also contribute to criminal behaviour,” she said.
The minister said children should be in a learning environment that is conducive, free and safe, and also protected from any threats, including sexual harassment and exploitation.
“In this case, appropriate action should be taken in accordance with the guidelines and rules in force for each case that is valid.
“Indeed, the government will not compromise on any offence involving sexual harassment and violation of the rights and welfare of children. Strict action must be taken against offenders involved in any misconduct involving children,” she said.
Rina said her ministry was also comprehensively reviewing the national children’s policy by emphasising that children be free from all negative things through advocacy, prevention and support services.
“The anti-sexual harassment law is also being enacted and is undergoing final scrutiny by the government to ensure there is better enforcement of the Act and that regulations can be implemented,” she added.