Singapore teen suffers face fracture after he is allegedly slapped with slipper at Malaysian religious school
Wanting to surprise her son on his 14th birthday, she travelled by coach from Singapore to Selangor to see him. When she got there, Ms Noridayu Zainuddin, 40, found her son Imann with a swollen face and running a high fever.
She claimed a teacher in the religious school he was attending had hit him in the face with a slipper, causing a fracture near the nose.
Ms Noridayu, a 40-year-old single mother, had sent her son to the Maahad Tahfiz Wattarbiyah school for a year-long Quran memorisation course as he had expressed an interest in it.
Speaking to The Straits Times on the phone last Friday, Ms Noridayu said the teacher slapped her son on the left side of his face with a slipper on Feb 18 after Imann got into a fight with a schoolmate.
The boys had a heated argument the day before, with Ms Noridayu claiming that the schoolmate provoked her son by telling him that his mother was going to die, and that he had to intensify his prayers for her.
Ms Noridayu, who works as a security officer, had suffered a heart attack last year and was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
She said her son had requested to speak to her on the phone after the beating to tell her what had happened, but he was not allowed to.
She said students were banned from keeping mobile phones or contacting their parents, who are assigned specific dates to visit their children although they are allowed to make requests to do so.
Ms Noridayu said that when she arrived together with her mother, sister and her other son on Feb 27, the day before her son's birthday, she noticed that there was something wrong with Imann. "He looked very pale and was not his usual cheerful self. There was a large swelling on the left side of his face, and he was so quiet, as though he was afraid to say something."
The first thing Imann said to her when they met was that he was not feeling well, and he begged to go home, the mother said.
Soon after realising that her son had a high fever, Ms Noridayu said she went to speak with the school principal to tell him that she wanted to take Imann home to see a doctor in Singapore.
"The principal said that he did not even notice Imann was sick, and that to him everything was normal. He then quickly changed the topic and tried to evade my questions," she said. It was only when they were a good distance from the school that Imann told his family what had happened to him.
The next day, on Feb 28, Ms Noridayu took Imann to the accident and emergency department at KK Women's and Children's Hospital.
Doctors said her son was severely injured. He had a fracture on a bone between his nose and eye and had to be warded and operated on immediately.
"The doctor told me that we were lucky to arrive when we did. Any later, and there could have been damage to Imann's eyes and brain," the mother said.
The boy is still in the hospital but is "slowly getting better", she said, adding that the cost of her son's treatment had so far has exceeded $13,000.
KKH clarified on March 9 that Imann underwent a surgical procedure a few days after he was admitted to the hospital, and is recovering in the hospital.
The hospital said it is not able to directly link the cause of his current clinical condition to the injury and that it is providing all the necessary support to the patient and family.
It added that the hospital bill is not finalised as the patient is eligible for government subsidies and KKH is facilitating the family to minimise the out-of-pocket expenditure.
The school's principal, Mr Abdul Hakim Afandi, 50, told the Malay-language Berita Harian daily in Singapore that the teacher who had hit Imann has been sacked, and the school is investigating the incident.
Ms Noridayu said she would be making a police report in Malaysia this week.