Missing Orang Asli kids face expulsion from school
Seven Orang Asli children who have been missing for over a week, may soon be expelled from school for not attending classes.
According to a letter by the principal of Sekolah Kebangsaan Tohoi, parents of the missing children must bring them back to the school in the interiors of Gua Musang, Kelantan, within 31 days or risk having them expelled.
The letter was dated Sept 2 and uploaded online by humanitarian group United Sikhs who visited the remote area.
"This is an outrage. Our children went missing from the school and now we get this?" Midah Angah, the mother of two of the missing children was quoted as saying by TheSun .
"How can we bring back our children when they got lost on school grounds and we don't know where they are.
"Everyone knows the kids are missing. How can the school authorities send such a letter to us knowing fully well that there is a search party out there looking for them," she added.
The children, missing since Aug 23 , are believed to have left the school after being scolded by a teacher for going swimming without permission.
A search operation involving close to 300 people from various agencies is still under way to locate them.
When contacted, the school refused to comment and directed all queries to the multi-agency committee searching for the students.
Attempts to contact members of the Orang Asli community in the area have not been successful, possibly due to the poor telephone reception in the remote area.
Most of the children studying at Sekolah Kebangsaan Tohoi stay in dormitories, as their villages are located hours away, even deeper into the jungle.
According to radio host Rishiwant Singh who is taking part in the search efforts, parents are now fearful of sending their children to school.
"I spoke to the Education Minister about the fears of the Orang Asli in sending their kids to such a school.
"The Orang Asli claim no help came for the first few days after the kids went missing. What do we do for them?" he asked in a Facebook posting uploaded by the United Sikhs.