The wardens of the SM Agama Datuk Klana Putra Ma’amor and the school principal should be immediately suspended for the death of Farid Ibrahim after assault by seniors to send a clear message to all school authorities about their strict responsibility for serious breakdown of school discipline such as gangsterism, violence, crime and murder in schools
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The wardens of the SM Agama Datuk Klana Putra Ma’amor in Seremban and the school principal should be immediately suspended for the death of Farid Ibrahim, 16, after assault by seniors to send a clear message to all school authorities about their strict responsibility for serious breakdown of school discipline such as gangsterism, violence, crime and murder in schools.
Together with the two newly-elected DAP Negri Sembilan State Assemblymen, Anthony Loke Siew Fook (Lobak), Lim Fui Ming (Bahau) and the DAP Parliamentary candidate for Rasah Chan Su Sann, I visited the parents of Farid, Ibrahim Maadaah and Norizan Ishak, in their Seremban home yesterday.
Ibrahim, who had lodged a police report over Farid’s death by assault at the hostel of SM Agama Datuk Klana Putra Ma’amor on Sunday, was right in being aggrieved and incensed that the Negri Sembilan State Religious Department (which is responsible for the school), the school and its wardens had failed to monitor discipline in the school, resulting in Farid’s death.
There are at least four aspects over the crime and tragedy of Farid’s death:
During our meeting with Ibrahim and Norizan, we extended the DAP’s legal assistance if this is required by the family, as DAP wants to see the restoration of the right of all parents to ensure that all students, regardless of race, are safe in schools and hostels.
The new Education Minister, Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein, has rightly raised Farid’s murder and the grave problem of school gangsterism, violence and crime in the first meeting of the new Cabinet yesterday, with him declaring after the Cabinet meeting that school thugs will be treated like criminals from now as there would be no place in the country’s school system for students who behaved like gangsters.
While the high-profile attention to school gangsterism, violence and crime is commendable, Ministerial denunciations and declarations that school thugs will be treated like criminals who will be dealt with by the police does not really resolve this long-standing, grave and intractable problem or enhance public confidence that this is not a five-minute concern and that there is the political and educational will to finally stamp out this problem.
This is because the former Education Minister, Tan Sri Musa Mohamad had also raised a similar alarm about the disturbing rise of gangsterism, violence and crime in schools soon after his appointment, but to no avail – with the situation getting worse rather than better!
For instance, in mid-2001, Musa gave the shocking statistics that from 1999 until May 2001, secondary students were involved in 12 cases causing death, 123 rapes and 51 robberies and break-ins. Is Hishammuddin prepared to release the latest and fullest statistics on the various categories of student crime in the past 10 years?
The Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Mohamed Bakri Omar said that crime statistics at the Federal police headquarters showed an increase from 4,200 in 2002 to 5,326 last year of crime cases involving students – a 22.7% increase.
Malaysians are entitled to know why the strategy jointly adopted by the Education Ministry and the Police in the past five years to ensure “zero indiscipline” and eradicate the problem of gangsterism, violence and crime in schools has been such a dismal failure, and what guarantee is there that the back of this problem could now be broken to restore safe and crime-free environments in schools, colleges and all educational institutions for all students!
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor