KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) appointing a senior federal counsel to represent a teacher and ex-headmistress in a defamation suit involving student Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam and her father would erode public perception of the government, said 75 critical MPs.
Urging the AGC to reconsider the “appalling” decision, the MPs including former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, and Muda president Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman said it was improper for the government agency to take sides in a private matter and civil dispute.
“The act of appointing a federal counsel in the civil action to defend private actions by the teacher who had initiated the suit will further tarnish the already negative perception of the Ministry of Education and the government,” they said in the statement.
The MPs said that while the teacher and ex-headmistress were fully entitled to legal representation, it was a waste of taxpayers’ funds to appoint a government lawyer to do so.
They further said the move would invite suspicions towards the impartiality of the AGC, which was the party responsible for drawing up the country’s laws including the Anti-Sexual Harrassment Bill 2021.
Recently, Ain and her father, Saiful Nizam Ab Wahab, had objected to the government lawyer entering his appearance for the teacher and headmistress in their defence, calling it “improper” in an affidavit.
Lawyer SN Nair, who filed the affidavit, told Free Malaysia Today (FMT), that the government’s decision to intercede on behalf of the teacher and ex-headmistress who sued Ain in their personal capacities was “most outrageous and unfathomable.”
Khairul Nizam Sanuddin, Ain’s former physical and health education teacher, sued her and her father for RM1 million, alleging that they had made defamatory remarks about him over social media and in interviews.
In return, Ain and her father counter-sued him, former headmistress Sarimah Mohammed Nor, Selangor education director Anismah M Noh, Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin and the Federal Government for RM5 million.
The issue began when Ain criticised Khairul on TikTok for allegedly making a rape joke in class, inspiring other students to share their experiences of harassment and pushing her to create the online campaign #MakeSchoolsASafer Place.
Saiful revealed to FMT that the family had to move due to pressure faced from the school and neighbourhood.
“My daughter was made to look like the cause of the incident when she was actually a victim,” he told the online news portal.