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Bullying is getting serious but we are not listening
Published on: Sunday, December 03, 2017

By Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye
A recent survey which reveals that almost seven out of 10 children in Malaysia worry a lot about bullying should act as an eye opener to all as it is a serious issue which warrants a holistic solution invol­ving various stakeholders.

It’s also very alarming since the global survey issued by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) also showed that the ratio is higher compared with three out of 10 in Japan and four out of 10 in Britain.

Since the global survey has revealed that our children are prominently concerned about bullying, it should be taken seriously and addressed.

Unfortunately, it was reported that the survey showed that 54pc of the children felt that their opinions were not listened to.

Bullying and violence should be kept in check as the culture is now gaining a foothold in our society.

In general, hardly a day passes without some form of violence committed, be it at home, school or elsewhere.

The Education Ministry’s Stu­dents’ Discipline Misconduct System showed that 1,054 cases have been reported as of June this year.

Last year, the total number of bullying cases was 3,448, a 14.5pc increase from 3,011 cases in 2015.

In 2014, there were 2,901 cases.

There were also 1,833 cases of physical bullying in secondary schools and 671 cases in primary schools last year, compared to 1,507 and 617 in 2015.

As of June this year, 706 physical bullying cases were reported in secondary schools while in primary schools, 106 cases were reported.

I hope the authorities, particularly the Education Ministry, would prioritise the teaching of mutual respect among students so that they will grow to befriend and appreciate one another and will not be involved in acts of bullying and violence.

We must inculcate mutual respect in terms of religion, race and gender to the extent that our children will protect each other from being intimidated or bullied.

In this connection, Moral Education should also be reinforced to emphasise the importance of learning and practising the 36 noble values in schools.

However, memorising the 36 noble values for the sake of passing the subject is certainly not desirable.

What we want to achieve is to put the noble values into practice in our daily life. Whatever was taught in school must be practised by the students as they will derive immense benefits from it.

The National Health and Morbi­dity Survey in 2015 showed that about 4.2 million Malaysians aged 16 years and above, or 29.2% of the population, suffered from various mental problems.

The number is alarming because it shows an increase of 11.2pc compared to 2006.

More troubling, the problem also involves students as the ratio of those facing mental problems has increased from one in 10 people in 2011 to one in five individuals in 2016.

Experts had cited anxiety and depression as the main causes of mental health problems among students.

I believe that we must listen to our children as the Unicef’s survey also shows that a great majority of children in Malaysia (95 pc) believe the world would be a better place for children if leaders would hear their voice.

Parents must spend quality time with their children and hear them out on their problems, needs and aspirations.

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye Senior Vice-Chairman Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation

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