Thursday, August 5, 2021

High time for an Anti-Bullying Act

The Penal Code and Child Act 2001 are inadequate to protect children and adults alike from being bullied and discriminated against.

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T Nhaveen’s unfortunate passing four years ago due to bullying must not be in vain and we should all take this opportunity to stand up against bullying, whether in school, the workplace, or in cyberspace.

It affects people of all ages but especially the young, vulnerable and different.

According to Education Minister Radzi Jidin, the number of cases lodged against bullying from January 2020 to September 2020 amounted to 0.04% of the total number of about 4.8 million students in both primary and secondary schools, compared to 0.12% the previous year.

The years 2016 to 2018 recorded 0.07%, 0.06% and 0.09% respectively.

Malaysia has not enacted any legislation yet to curb bullying and it is high time the policymakers look seriously into drafting the Anti-Bullying Act to prevent bullying and unnecessary juvenile deaths.

The Penal Code (Act 574) and Child Act 2001 (Act 611) are inadequate to protect children and adults alike from being bullied and discriminated against.

I have personally come across someone who was bullied on social media to the extent that it affected her reputation at work and she fell into depression. There are many other similar cases and we do not need another bad incident like Nhaveen’s case to remind us of what needs to be done.

The Penang chapter of Comwel hopes that all MPs will be supportive of the Anti-Bullying Act as there must be legislative action to prevent bullies from the damage they inflict on their victims.

As psychologists will attest to, bullying affects a person’s self-esteem and young victims are too intimidated to inform their parents or teachers about the trouble they are in.

Although public awareness is equally essential, the country still needs an Anti-Bullying Act.

Carolyn Khor is head of the Penang chapter and chief secretariat of Comwel.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.

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