Last year Malaysians wept alongside T. Nhaveen’s family and friends as he breathed his last on 16 June 2017, a victim of bullying that cost a life. One of his assaulters beat him up 3 years before attacking him again in 2017. The school knew about it but didn’t act fast enough or aggressive enough.
This year, amongst the many cases, 2 schools – in Hulu Kelang and Penang, teachers have been found guilty of sexual misconduct buy their schools through reports by parents. In Ampang, a male teacher who had molested a female student in 2017 had also molested a student a few years ago in a different school. In Penang, a male religious teacher gad performed oral sex on students as young as 10 for the past year. 6 police reports have been made by parents and yet the teacher had been transferred to desk duty by the Penang Education Department pending an internal inquiry.
Teachers and schools tend to exercise reluctance in coming out to push for investigations for fear of any action taken against them because their act had brought ‘shame’ to the school by the PPD, State Education Department or even the Ministry of Education in the past, under Barisan Nasional rule.
The culture of not reporting or in some cases to sweep the issues under the carpet is partly due to the culture of the Government at that time to discourage any form of expose or revelations of shortcomings, issues and even sexual misconduct or bullying cases as what we have seen in the past. Subtle threats had been made that reports made by schools on cases of sexual misconduct and bullying by teachers and by students may affect the KPI ratings of the schools which indirectly and silently may have an effect on their allotted allocation too which is very mafioso in nature.
Section 29 of the Child Act 2001 promotes “any child care provider who fails to comply commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both”. Therefore schools should use it without fear or favour to expose sex predators and bullies amongst them.
Schools that report on acts of sexual misconduct and bullying should be rewarded and given merit points for their courage in exposing these monsters which was something the previous Barisan Nasional government never did and would have no political will in carrying out. This will encourage schools not to take “wait-and-see” attitude in the hopes of the issue going away and report immediately
I had spoken about it in my speech to debate the royal address and hope that JAKIM and the Ministry of Education will ensure that tahfiz schools, Government schools and international schools will be given the due recognition and the support when they come forward to make a report.
Reward and merit schools that report sexual misconduct and bullying cases moving away from BN’s culture of sweeping issues under the carpet in a pseudo-effort to protect the school’s image and KPI (Key Performance Index).