The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) has called on the Education Ministry (MOE) to be transparent in investigations on period spot checks and sexual harassment in schools.
This came after Malaysiakini handed a list of 15 schools where female students were said to have been subjected to period spot checks to Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin.
Radzi had previously said that his ministry's investigations found no indication that such practices existed and called for a tip-off from the public if such a case happened in schools.
"JAG is willing and able to assist the MOE in those investigations and has recently sent a letter to the MOE to request for a meeting to discuss ways to address sexual harassment in schools," its statement read.
It said the ministry has the responsibility of providing children with quality education in a safe environment of learning that actively promotes values of respect for all persons and non-violence.
JAG said after the issues were brought to public attention, including a sexual harassment case involving a teacher as highlighted by 17-year-old Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam, more alleged victims had stepped forward to share their harrowing experiences with the NGO.
"To date, All Women’s Action Society (Awam) has received 13 cases of gender-based violence against children in schools, in which 12 of them were sexual harassment and one was rape.
"Four of the sexual harassment cases involved refugee children. In all 12 sexual harassment cases, the teachers were the perpetrators," it said.
JAG's statement was endorsed by 14 of its members under the coalition namely Awam, Association of Women Lawyers, Empower Malaysia, Family Frontiers Malaysia, and Justice for Sisters.
It also includes KRYSS Network, Perak Women for Women, Sisters in Islam, Sabah Women’s Action-Resource Group, Sarawak Women for Women Society, Tenaganita, Women's Centre for Change, and Women's Aid Organisation.