Bandar Kuching MP lauds MoE’s move to establish portal for bullying complaints

Dr Kelvin Yii

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KUCHING, Aug 15: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii welcomes the Education Ministry’s (MoE) move to launch a portal that will allow parents and teachers to report bullying incidents in schools.

According to Dr Yii’s press statement, such an initiative is important to have a safe place for reports to be lodged. In addition, the ministry can oversee all schools in case some try to downplay or sweep such cases under the carpet.

“What is most important is that after these reports are lodged, schools must take the issue seriously, and action must be taken to build confidence in the system.

“Existing guidelines and procedures for minimising such incidents must be strengthened and reformed, taking best practices from what is done in other countries,” he said.

Furthermore, he stated that the federal government, through the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, should consider developing a comprehensive anti-cyberbullying law, as there is currently no specific legislation on cyberbullying in Malaysia.

Dr Yii went on to say that in addition to a legal framework, public awareness, education, and social norms on acceptable online behaviour, as well as community efforts and support, are required to combat cyberbullying in Malaysia.

He added that more needs to be done, such as properly equipping and empowering schools to handle and overcome such incidents.

“We’ve seen multiple news reports of physical bullying, including a recent report of an alleged case of bullying involving a female Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) student in Kuantan, whose mother claimed her daughter’s uniform was vandalised and her hair was cut while she was sleeping.

“Such incidents are not isolated, as there are numerous similar cases. For example, many people who saw the video clip of a bullying incident at a Langkawi secondary school on April 27 this year found it worrying.

“On December 14, 2021, it was reported that Maktab Rendah Sains Mara Sultan Azlan Shah (MRSM Kuala Kangsar) had expelled 10 students for bullying a student who had been punched and kicked by a group of boys, and the incident was captured on video,” he disclosed.

Dr Yii, who is also the Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth (Dapsy) national chief, added that on December 16, 2021, police remanded five 16-year-old boys for allegedly bullying a 14-year-old secondary school student in Muar on December 9, and the victim suffered injuries to his left rib.

He noted that the most disturbing aspect of bullying is that some students have lost their lives because of it; for instance, a student from SMK Bandar Rinching ingested pesticide in February 2014 because he could no longer tolerate being bullied.

In addition, Dr Yii, who is also the chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) Health, Science, and Innovation, asserted that according to the Health Ministry’s 2017 Adolescent Health Survey, 16.2 per cent of the country’s teenagers were involved in bullying.

“However, such figures may not paint the full picture as we know many bullying cases go unreported, and this may not have covered the incidents of cyberbullying which is getting increasingly rampant in our country,” he pointed out.

He also acknowledged that according to a report published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), Malaysia ranked second in Asia in 2020 for cyberbullying among youth, with at least 28 per cent being victims of online violence.

“That is why this issue must be addressed seriously, with the Ministry of Education playing an important role in empowering the schools to address this issue on a holistic level,” he said.

Recently, Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin said that the MoE will prepare a bully complaints portal to improve efforts to curb bullying cases in schools.

Parents and teachers can lodge reports through phone, email or the portal. — DayakDaily