KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – A Malaysian teacher forced a student to smoke 42 cigarettes in two hours as punishment after finding the boy had a cigarette and lighter, a news report said Thursday.
A school official confirmed that the English teacher subjected the student to the unusual punishment but said the teenager was made to smoke fewer than 42 cigarettes. He declined to elaborate.
He said the teacher was upset when she found that her model student had a cigarette and a lighter in his locker in the school in the northern island of Langkawi.
The boy also smelled of cigarettes, said a school official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. He said the school apologized to the boy's uncle, who lodged a police report when he found out about the punishment.
"This is not normal. We don't do that often," the official said.
He said it was up to the state's education department to take action against the teacher, but officials there could not be immediately reached Thursday.
Police on Langkawi could not be reached for comment.
The New Straits Times daily quoted the 16-year-old boy as saying he was made to smoke 42 cigarettes — four at a time for more than two hours. The punishment was witnessed by other teachers and students.
In 2007, another Malaysian teacher was reprimanded after she made almost 140 teenage girls squat in a pond at a boarding school as punishment for clogging the toilets.
The punishment caused an outcry, leading to Malaysia's Education Ministry to announce it would issue specific guidelines on how teachers should discipline students.
The government permits boys to be whipped with a rattan cane in schools for such offenses as smoking, vandalism and harming others.