KUCHING (August 15): The Ministry of Education (MOE) plays a vital role in empowering schools to address and manage cases of bullying on a holistic level, the Socialist Youth Party leader said of Democratic Action (Dapsy), Dr. Kelvin Yii.
He said that based on reports from some parents, some school administrators tend to bury or minimize bullying and other acts of indiscipline – which does not help the situation and may even perpetuate problems if no action is taken.
“That’s why I welcome the Department of Education’s intention to launch a portal by this week for parents and teachers to file reports on bullying cases in schools.
“Such an initiative is important so that there is a safe space for such reports to be filed and for the ministry to oversee all schools in case some try to minimize gambling or even sweep such cases under the rug. “, did he declare.
The MP for Bandar Kuching added that the most important thing after the filing of these reports is that schools need to take the issue seriously and steps need to be taken to build trust in the system.
“Existing guidelines and procedures to minimize such incidents should be strengthened and reformed, drawing on best practices from other countries,” he said in a statement Monday.
In addition to this, the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, should consider formulating a comprehensive anti-cyberbullying law, as there is currently no specific cyberbullying legislation in Malaysia.
He said that apart from a legal framework, public awareness as well as education and social norms on social media etiquette – such as acceptable online behavior – are necessary to effectively tackle the prevalence of cyberbullying in Malaysia.
This follows several reports of physical bullying, including a recent report of an alleged bullying case involving an MRSM student in Kuantan whose mother claimed her daughter’s uniform had been vandalized and her hair had been cut while she slept.
He said such incidents are not isolated, with many similar cases occurring at other schools.
“On December 14, 2021, it was reported that Maktab Rendah Sains Mara Sultan Azlan Shah (MRSM) in Kuala Kangsar expelled 10 students for bullying a fellow student who was punched and kicked by a group of boys – which had been captured on video.
“On December 16 last year, police remanded five 16-year-old boys for allegedly bullying a 14-year-old student in Muar on December 9. The boy suffered injuries to his left ribs and was treated at a hospital.
“The most disturbing thing is that some students have died of bullying. For example, a student from SMK Bandar Rinching died after drinking pesticides in February 2014 because he could not stand the bullying from his fellow students. Form 1 student T Kavinraj had reported the bullying to his teachers and family but eventually, perhaps in a fit of frustration, took his own life,” he added.
Dr Yii also referred to an adolescent health survey conducted by the Ministry of Health in 2017 and pointed out that 16.2% of adolescents in Malaysia were involved in bullying.
However, he said these numbers may not paint a complete picture, as many instances of bullying go unreported and this may not have covered cyberbullying incidents, which are increasingly prevalent in the country.
He cited a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) that in 2020 Malaysia was ranked second in Asia for cyberbullying among young people, with at least 28% of the country’s children being bullied. online violence, which is becoming an increasingly serious problem.
“More needs to be done, including properly equipping and empowering schools to deal with bullying cases in order to overcome such incidents in schools, whether physical bullying or even cyberbullying, especially among our students. “, did he declare.