JOHOR BARU - The schoolteacher who helped alert the authorities to the two young girls being prostituted by their mother has been hailed as a hero by the public.
Praise for the teacher came from many via The Star's Facebook page, where the shocking story was posted.
They commended her for responding quickly after she received a message for help from one of the girls.
The two half-sisters, aged 10 and 13, were exploited by their unemployed mother, who forced them to have sex with Bangladeshi men on several occasions at a budget hotel.
The older girl, who was absent from school for 18 days, had reached out to her teacher for help through a message sent via the mother's mobile phone. This prompted the teacher to alert the school authority and the matter was referred to the Education Department, Welfare Department, and police.
The "monster mother" of the children was sentenced to 150 years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to 10 charges of prostituting the girls.
Facebook user Muhd Adam commented that the teacher was the real hero and showed that she loved the children more than the mother.
State Education Department director Shaharudin Sharif said that while teachers have the responsibility to ensure the well-being of their students at school, there was a certain risk in such cases.
"Teachers are advised not to take matters into their own hands and should report to the school authorities so that they can inform the relevant agencies. We can never be too careful when it comes to children, as sometimes allegations made by the children may not be entirely true and that could backfire on us," he added.
Shaharudin also commended the teacher's swift action in informing the school principal regarding the case.