Hishammuddin should present a White Paper in Parliament to explain the reason for the failure of his first pledge as Education Minister in March last year – to root out the problem of school gangsterism which has got worse despite his establishment of a special task force 15 months ago
Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Monday): Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein should present a White Paper in Parliament to explain the reason for the failure of his first pledge as Education Minister in March last year – to root out the problem of school gangsterism which has got worse in the past 15 months despite his establishment of a Special Task Force to resolve the problem.
Two days ago in Malacca, Hishammuddin told victims of school bullies: “I’ll protect you” when he told them to report their victimization to his office directly, and that the Education Ministry will give them protection.
Hishammuddin was commenting on the attack on a Form Three student of Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur last Thursday following a misunderstanding with two senior students. The boy had lodged a police report alleging that two students had beaten him up for not queuing when entering the school’s Red Crescent room.
But while Hishammuddin was making the “I”ll protect you” declaration last Saturday, two more cases of schoolboy bullies was coming to light:
Hishammuddin’s statement had come in the wake of a recent spate of incidents involving school bullies and student gangsterism.
The most outrageous case was the assault of 13-year-old Mohd Afiq Qusyairi, Form One, who was bullied and beaten by his seniors at the boarding school, Sekolah Menengah Agama Padang Tengku in Kuala Lipis till near spinal paralysis.
Afiq was attacked in April by two Form Five students, who stomped on his back while wearing police cadet boots. Two weeks later, three seniors threw him against his locker.
The Afiq assault case was so outrageous that the Sultan of Perak personally went to Sekolah Menengah Agama Padang Tengku last Tuesday and questioned 14 students and three wardens for more than an hour to find out why the bullying occurred in a religious school, but he ended up disappointed as he could not get to the root cause of the problems.
On the same day that the Sultan of Pahang was in Kuala Lipis to investigate the Afiq assault, another serous case of student gangsterim was taking place in the state, involving several boys of SMK Camis in Muadzam Shah, near Rompin, who assaulted a fellow student with hockey sticks, bottles and stones and then trampled on him.
This spate of outrageous assaults by school bullies and student gangsters and the spectacle of a completely helpless Education Minister to restore school discipline is most shocking.
Malaysians can still remember Hishammuddin’s first pledge as Education Minister after the March 2004 general election was to end school gangsterism with the setting up of a special task force when 16-year-old Form Four student Mohd Farid Ibrahim died on March 28, 2004 as a result of assault by seniors at the Sekolah Menengah Agama Datuk Kelana Pertra Maamor hostel in Seremban.
On 30th March 2004, three days after he was appointed Education Minister, Hishammuddin expressed “anger” at the Mohd Farid’s killing by his seniors in a religious school hostel, declared “no compromise” against school gangsters and bullies, announced a “hot line” number to give protection to the victims. Three weeks later on April 19, 2004, Hishammuddin announced that the special task force on school gangsterism which he had set up was “in the final stages” of formulating a solution to school gangsterism.
Hishammuddin should explain why it has been “all thunder and no rain” in his first pledge to end school gangsterism despite setting up a special task force to formulate a strategy to root out the problem of school bullies and student gangsterism to the extent that the whole problem seems to have completely got out of hand. All the Education Minister seems capable of doing is to ask for more allocation under the Ninth Malaysia Plan to fight the problem!
Hishammuddin should present a White Paper on this problem and schedule a parliamentary debate or MPs, whether Barisan Nasional or Opposition, will be remiss in their duty if they fail to address this grave and chronic problem of school indiscipline and gangsterism in the current meeting of Parliament.
* Lim Kit Siang,
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur
and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman
Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur
and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman