KUALA KANGSAR, Oct 19 — The Perak Civil Defence Force suspended 10 personnel from taking part in school co-curriculum programmes after they had asked 45 pupils from SK Beluru, Kuala Kangsar, to wade through a muddy pit with snakes in it.
The personnel had conducted a “motivational camp” for the pupils — boys and girls aged between 10 and 12 — at the force’s headquarters in Kuala Kangsar on Saturday.
A video, which had since gone viral, showed young girls screaming and crying after they were asked to step into a pit and later told there were two blood pythons in it.
The three-day camp, held from Friday to Sunday, was jointly organised by the force and the school.
Perak Civil Defence Force director Col. Mohd Noor Hassan Ashari Sulaiman said the department had suspended four coaches and six assistants pending internal investigations.
“The programme has also been suspended. We want to ensure justice is served and the appropriate punishment is meted out to those found guilty, in accordance to our procedures,” he said.
Expressing shock and disappointment over the incident, Mohd Noor said this was the 32nd edition of the programme which started in 2012 involving 1,622 school children over the past four years.
“Our standard operating procedure do not allow the use of such reptiles unless it was an exhibition or demonstration on how to catch or handle snakes,” he said.
“This should not have happened. I am appalled by the incident.”
Malay Mail Afternoon E-Paper yesterday reported the hesitant girls were told to enter the muddy pit which contained a foot-long blood python.
A male voice is heard saying there is a snake in the pit, prompting at least one girl to run shrieking out of the pit. Her screams of terror are heard out of frame.
The petrified voice of one of the girls is heard begging: “Cikgu, tolong (teacher, help).”
The children then appear to have broken into two groups. As the first tried to scramble out, they kept looking back in fear.
The second group then enters, prompted by shouts of “masuk, masuk (get in, get in)” from an adult male.
Screaming in fear, they rushed to the opposite bank. Then, another snake appears to be thrown in as they were hosed down by a person out of frame.
After pleading and crying for help, they were given a rope to climb out of the pit.
Kuala Kangsar police chief ACP Termizi Abdul Haq said a police report was lodged by a Kuala Kangsar Civil Defence Force personnel.
He said police were not initiating criminal investigations, but were finding out who had uploaded the video on the Internet and made it viral.
“The personnel from the force lodged a report on Monday requesting police to investigate who made the video viral,” Mohd Noor said.
“We are investigating the case under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.”
Section 233 of the Act (improper use of network facilities or network service) reads a person who makes, creates, or solicits and initiates the transmission of any comment or communication which is obscene, false of offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another.
Termizi said no parent had lodged a police report regarding the incident.