Hishamuddin should present a White Paper at the first meeting in Parliament on the grave problem of crime and violence in schools and educational institutions and his strategy to make schools crime-free
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The beating-to-death of top scholar Mohamad Faris Ibrahim, 16, by senior students at the top religious school in Negri Sembilan, SM Agama Datuk Klana Putra Ma’amor School in Seremban should turn the national spotlight on the dark side of the education system in the country – the breakdown of discipline and social/moral values spawning violence and crime in the schools and the educational institutions.
The government cannot wait until students reach 18 years old to undergo the three-month national service training to become good citizens – when there is a less than 20 per cent intake for the 18-year-olds and even more serious, with the problematic success of National Service Training programme with reports of fights among the national service trainees.
The spate of violence in schools reflects not only the breakdown of discipline and social/moral values among the students, but the failure of educators to maintain discipline in school situations to prevent eruptions of violence and crime involving students in schools.
Recent cases of violence in schools include that of 16-year-old Mohd Hafiz Jumhari, a student from Sekolah Menengah Teknik Batu Pahat, Johor, who suffererd serious injuries to his kidney, liver and bladder after being beaten by seniors at his hostel on August 11 last year. He had earlier been seen talking to a female student.
Also that month, a pupil at the Mara Junior Science College in Jeli, Kelantan, was admitted to the Tanah Merah Hospital after being attacked by five students.
Last October 24, students from Sekolah Menengah Teknik Teluk Intan, Perak assaulted former students Mohd Azizul Hakimi Abdul Rahman and Ahmad Saifudeen Mohd Salleh, both 18. Azizul was beaten unconscious.
Last month, three students were assaulted in three schools in Pahang. At Sekolah Menengah Cenderawasih, four Form Four students beat up their classmate, who broke a tooth and sustained facial bruises.
The new Education Minister, Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein said on his appointment that education is every citizen’s right. He must regard it as completely outrageous and unacceptable that such a fundamental citizen right could be rendered meaningless and snuffed out because there is no basic safety and security in schools and the educational environment to the extent that a top student in a top school could be beaten to death by his seniors.
Hishammuddin must order a full inquiry and not just leave it to police investigations into individual criminal offences – for he must order a complete overhaul of school discipline and demand higher standards of school maintenance of discipline and social/moral values by teachers, headmasters and school administrators who must be held personally responsible for any such disgraceful school conduct, including demotions and freeze of salary increases.
Hishamuddin should present a White Paper at the first meeting in Parliament on the grave problem of crime and violence in schools and educational institutions, as DAP MPs will demand why the Education Ministry cannot make the schools and educational institutions crime-free for all students.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor