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Monday, May 2, 2016

Probe over banner protest against school principal

KOTA KINABALU - A probe is under way over a banner put up near a Penampang secondary school with a message asking for the removal of its principal.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said acting state education department director Maimunah Suhaibul had initiated an investigation into the matter.

Masidi, who oversees education matters in the state government, said the department will issue a statement on the matter “if and when necessary”.

He said he had learnt that the banner was put up at the archway along the road leading to Kampung Limbanak on Saturday morning but was removed later in the day.

The words on the banner read: “We the parents of students of SMK Limbanak want the principal removed as she caused chaos and destroyed the school’s excellent track record.”

Photos of the banner were widely circulated over social media.

SMK Limbanak - one of four secondary schools in Penampang district - has about 1,500 students with more than 100 teachers.

The school parent teacher-association chairman Isidore Lojiwa said they were leaving the matter to be resolved by the department.

Penampang MP Darrel Leiking, a native of Kampung Limbanak, said uneasiness with the principal began last year when two teachers were transferred out on her recommendation because of "overstaffing issues".

However, two teachers were posted to the school a few months later, said Darrel.

He said parents became alarmed when another two Form Five teachers were transferred out from the school last month.

“To the parents, it made no sense to transfer out Form Five teachers in the middle of the school year when they are supposed to help the students prepare for their exams,” Darrel added.

He hoped a dialogue involving the principal, department officials and parents can be held soon to resolve the issue.

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