Malaysia’s Bullying Epidemic

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) finds the state of bullying in Malaysian schools to be very disturbing. The bullying phenomenon has reached a point where it can now be considered a social epidemic.

It would seem that if we do not find a way to tackle this problem immediately, our society is going to turn into a violent one.

However, as with all problems, before we can work towards eradicating it we must first determine the causes or the contributing factors of the problem.

If we consider that children are greatly affected by the actions or inactions of their parents (the people who most strongly influence them in their early years), then the main contributing factor to bullying in Malaysian schools is most likely the lack of parenting in families nowadays.

This situation is brought on by the demands of the materialistic mentality of our society.  CAP has always been against this way of life which is dictated by consumerism – where people are willing to forsake everything, even the precious time with their children, so that they may buy the latest gadgets and gizmos.

This way of life and thinking makes it so that both parents have to work to ensure they can make enough money to fulfil their excessive “wants” (in a two-parent family).  People should live simply and focus just on their “needs”.  If they did then only one parent would need to work and the other would be free to love and nurture their children.  This would be the ideal way of child rearing compared to the norm of parents leaving their children to be raised by impersonal caretakers.

Besides that, our educational system’s approach to inculcating moral values in children leaves much to be desired and is probably another cause for the rampant bullying that is happening in our schools.  Children are taught Islamic Studies, Moral Studies and Civics Studies as part of the curriculum in schools.  However the way children are taught these subjects is just to promote scoring “As” on exams and not to shape a moralistic human being.

It would be more beneficial if our formal education system actually made children practice good moral values as part of the syllabus instead of just teaching them “how to be a moral person”.

With the gravity of the situation in mind, CAP ask that the Malaysian Government set up a Commission of Inquiry to examine the problem in detail and to determine what remedial actions can be taken to address the problem of bullying in schools.

Letter to the Editor, 9 June 2016