KUALA LUMPUR, December 14 – The Ministry of Education told Dewan Rakyat this morning that it is preparing a four-tier framework to tackle bullying in schools.
His minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Jidin said the planned internal system would allow students and parents to lodge complaints directly while protecting the identity of complainants, but refrained from explaining how it would differ from current protocols for deal with bullies.
“There may be cases where [the school] may attempt to cover up, but if this happens in a public school, we will be very determined to take immediate and severe action against any school principal who tries to cover up any incident of bullying in their school,” he said. he said during question time.
“That’s why we are developing this complaints system so that the ministry finds out in detail the cases of bullying and determines the right course of action,” he added.
Radzi also suggested the ministry could impose tougher sentences on bullies.
The ministry is reviewing existing sentences with a view to “improving” them “so that the sentences given are appropriate”, he told the Lower House.
That could involve empowering boarding school directors to impose harsher sentences, the senator suggested. Radzi did not specify what these punishments are.
“The department is reviewing existing sanctions for students who have committed bullying with the aim of improving them so that any sanction imposed is appropriate and acts as an effective deterrent,” he said.
These measures are part of a four-tier anti-bullying framework that the ministry plans to formalize by next year.
Radzi said his ministry is currently in talks with headteachers and the police as part of an ongoing discussion to prepare the framework.
Bullying is a rampant problem not only in educational institutions, but also in private workplaces and public service.
Some of the most high-profile bullying cases in recent years have resulted in deaths, sparking public outcry. The issue has arisen again following a new incident involving several teenagers believed to be students at a public boarding school.
A video of the bullying incident had been filmed. In the short clip of around 30 seconds, several male students were seen punching and kicking another boy.
An initial investigation revealed that the incident took place between 1am and 2am on December 9 involving a 13-year-old victim.