The Tiada Guru group has called for an independent probe on the Education Ministry over alleged claims of negligence.
This is after the ministry failed to file its defence in a lawsuit after 155 days and counting. The lawsuit is over a teacher's purported failure to turn up for classes at a school in Kota Belud, Sabah.
"The Education Ministry must promptly delegate an external, independent investigation - sine qua non for the truth - into all recently claimed abuse, negligence, and corruption against it. Likewise, the Education Minister (Radzi Jidin) must submit a defence to the court.
"Ignorance of the law is no defence. This egregious period without a defence has invited significant mistrust, suspicion and disrepute," Tiada Guru said in a statement yesterday.
In December last year, it was reported that the three former students of SMK Taun Gusi - Rusiah Sabdarin, Nur Natasha Allisya Hamali and Calvina Angayung - had sued teacher Mohd Jainal Jamran and four others.
The other four defendants are the school's former principal Suid Hanapi, the Education Department director-general, the education minister and the government of Malaysia.
The students are suing Jainal over his alleged failure to conduct the English language classes between March and November 2017.
Malaysiakini understands that the defendants have submitted a memorandum of appearance on Dec 30, after which they had 14 days to file a defence.
However, they have yet to do so. Malaysiakini understands that the court granted extensions for them to file a defence, but it is unclear on what grounds.
The teacher and the ministry are also facing a separate legal action by another student for his purported failure to turn up for classes for seven months at the same school in 2015.
Besides the absentee teacher lawsuits, the Education Ministry is also under pressure to look into allegations of period spot checks - a practice that allegedly spans decades.
The ministry is also dealing with allegations that a teacher in Selangor had allegedly made a rape joke in class.