Musa Mohamad should make a Ministerial statement in Parliament on Tuesday on the grave problem of students in police lock-ups because of school indiscipline and student gangsterism, to the extent that a warden of the prestigious Malay College Kuala Kangsar had been intimidated by parang-armed students
Media Conference (2)
- when launching the DAP’s 46th National Day Celebrations and the “Defend Secular Malaysia” campaign in Pulau Tikus
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Saturday): Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad should make a Ministerial statement in Parliament on Tuesday on the grave problem of students in police lock-ups because of school indiscipline and student gangstersm, to the extent that a warden of the prestigious Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) had been intimidated by parang-armed students, and what urgent and effective measures the Education Ministry is taking to address such a major failure of the national education system.
When the press first broke the story of the MCKK student gangsterism yesterday (New Straits Times), the MCKK principal Aminuddin Mohd Dom denied that a warden had been assaulted by students of the boarding school or there was any such incident, “present or past”.
Today, however, the Perak Education director Datuk Adnan Ibrahim confirmed that eight Form Five students from MCKK were expelled including two who had intimidated a warden with parangs.
How can the MCKK principal inspire respect, trust and confidence of the students, parents and the community when he could publicly tell an untruth to be reported in national newspapers in denying the breakdown of school discipline at the MCKK?
There has recently been a spate of school indiscipline and student gangsterism, as apart from MCKK, there were the following incidents in Malacca:
Only last week, 20 students were expelled from Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman (STAR) in Ipoh for being involved in gangsterism, with reports of the revival of a gangster-like group called “The High Council” in which members were believed to meet secretly in the wee hours of the morning and were terrorizing the juniors through ragging and psychological abuse.
Something has gone very wrong with the national education system. Late last year, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad lamented the failure of the national education system to promote national unity – resulting in the ill-advised rush to introduce a compulsory national service training programme for all Malaysians between the ages of 16 to 35, beginning with 100,000 18-year-olds next year which will cost the country over RM500 million.
Last week, the National Social Policy :”to balance the country’s rapid economic growth with moral and societal values” was proclaimed to great fanfare.
But the breakdown of school discipline and the rearing of the ugly head of student gangsterism have highlighted the basic failure of the entire national education policy and system to produce good citizens – a failure that must also be borne by teachers, educationists, parents and most pertinent of all, the educational planners and the leadership of the Education Ministry, in particular the Education Director-General Datuk Abdul Rafie Mahat and the Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad!
In the first four decades of nationhood, it was unheard of for students to spend a night in the police lock-up after being arrested because of school gang fights – but now it seems to be a common occurrence. Is this progress? Is this because of the bad influence of the nation’s leaders and institutions, as for instance, in the serious allegation by a Deputy Minsiter of “black gold politics” sending its tentacles to the highest reaches of government politics?
Today’s Berita Harian front-page headline “Amaran kepada pelajar pukul, buli rakan – ‘Awak sentuh, awak keluar’” quoting Rafie as the answer to school indiscipline and student gangsterism is a simplistic response which does not get the root of the problem, which has long been simmering and stewing without responsible leadership and action by the education authorities, whether at the school, state education department or Education Ministry level, to address it.
The grave problem of the breakdown of school discipline and student gangsterism, reflecting the larger problem of the breakdown and failure of the national education policy and system and the education planners and authorities in the Education Ministry, should be top of the agenda when Parliament reconvenes next Tuesday for the 2004 Budget meeting.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman