Bullying individuals because they appear “different” is wrong, says Unicef representative in Malaysia Marianne Clark-Hattingh.
“Bullying kills. It shatters human lives and tears apart the social fabric. It goes against Malaysian values of tolerance and understanding,” added Clark-Hattingh in a statement yesterday.
Those who bully are “violent and weak”, said Clark-Hattingh of the case of 18-year-old student T. Nhaveen who is in a coma.
Clark-Hattingh said bullying often started at childhood and what happened to Nhaveen was the result of years of systematic provocation.
“(Bullying) can and should be stopped. If you witness a bullying incident, do not keep quiet.
“Report immediately, speak out before it is too late,” she added.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan said the case was beyond mere bullying, and perpetrated by misguided youths.
It is an “intentionally cruel and violent” assault on an innocent teenager, he added.
“They took their time in tormenting and torturing the victim and the law should take its full course on them.
“I think parents, teachers and society at large should collectively teach our kids that violence of any kind isn’t positive and should be abhorred,” said Kamalanathan, the Hulu Selangor MP.
Bukit Gelugor DAP MP Ramkarpal Singh said the incident was “most vile” and seemed to have been unprovoked.
Ramkarpal urged the police to thoroughly investigate the incident.
“It is not merely a case of ragging or bullying … but quite possibly one of attempted murder, particularly when it appears as though Nhaveen was overwhelmed by the number of assailants.
“The extent of Nhaveen’s severe injuries suggests his assailants were well aware that their actions could possibly result in death, which is something that cannot be ruled out at this stage,” said Ramkarpal in a statement on Facebook.
Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) senior vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the culture of violence seemed to be gaining a foothold in the country’s educational institutions.
He said earlier a 21-year-old navy cadet officer was tortured to death at Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia.
“In general, hardly a day passes without some form of violence committed – be it at home, school or elsewhere.
“While there was an overall reduction in crime index, violent crimes rose by 2.4% with 22,326 cases reported last year, compared to 21,810 in 2015,” he said in a statement.
He urged the Education Ministry, teachers and counsellors to identify students prone to violence and put them through an intensive counselling programme before they destroyed themselves and others.
Meanwhile, Wanita MCA urged the police to investigate the case as attempted murder, sodomy and assault.
Its chief, Datuk Heng Seai Kie, said in a statement that these bullies should be “locked up for good”.
Heng added that it was the responsibility of adults and parents to correct misconduct among the young to inculcate a safe, peaceful, harmonious and caring society for the next generation.
Barisan Nasional’s Sekijang MP Anuar Abd Manap said the crime, which seemed to have elements of gangsterism, was on the rise of late.
He advised youth to be more vigilant when staying out late. Anuar also hoped more neighbourhood watch would be active in residential areas.