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Malaysia schoolboy 'beaten by warden' dies in hospital

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A Malaysian schoolboy whose legs were amputated after allegedly being beaten by a staff member has died in hospital, local media report.

The 11-year-old boy was among children beaten with a water hose by the assistant warden at a private Islamic school in Johor state, police say.

Excerpts from the boy's diary, published in Malaysian media, appear to describe systematic abuse.

He had been in a coma, and his father confirmed his death on Wednesday

The family had been saying prayers for his recovery at the time, he told The Star newspaper. The boy had been due to have his right arm amputated.

'Group punishment'

The boy and 14 of his classmates are believed to have been beaten with a water hose on 24 March for making too much noise in the school's assembly building, police say.

His diary said that if one student made an error at the school in Kota Tinggi, in southern Malaysia, the whole group would be punished.

It said they would often volunteer to be beaten first, so they could try to sleep before waking for prayers at three in the morning.

"Dear Allah, please open my parents' heart to allow me to transfer to another school because I cannot stand it any more," one diary entry quoted by the Malay Mail online newspaper said.

Tougher scrutiny

The assistant warden accused of beating him has been arrested and police have been looking at CCTV footage showing some of the abuse.

The case has shocked people in Muslim-majority country, one of the most affluent in South East Asia, and has led to calls from parents for tougher scrutiny of privately-run religious schools where students memorise the Koran.

The Federation of National Associations of al-Quran Tahfiz Institutions (Pinta), an umbrella group for religious schools, said it had seen CCTV footage which showed the boy being beaten on the soles of his feet.

But Pinta's president, Mohd Zahid Mahmood, told reporters the public should not to jump to conclusions about the case but allow the authorities to complete their investigation.

The school's head had declined to comment on the alleged beatings, citing an ongoing police investigation.

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