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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Step up enforcement to reduce indiscipline among Malaysian students

DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw calls on the Malaysian Government to improve enforcement such as by local authorities on entertainment outlets to ensure that students do not go to places where they are not supposed to be.

While the Education Ministry is reviewing laws like the Police Act and the Child Act to give the police and the teachers more power, it should be looking at how local authorities can improve their enforcement. Amending laws may not necessarily enhance enforcement. On the other hand, it may lead to more irregularities: corrupt people have to pay more.

There are over two million students in Malaysian primary and secondary schools. They must be protected.

Dr Tan comments on the statement by the Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein yesterday that there were limitations to what teachers could do outside school. For example, they had no authority to act when students visited cyber cafes. The police, too, did not have the power to detain students in certain situations.

He said that the number of cases of indiscipline among stduents was 2.07% in 2004 and 1.74% in 2005; vehicle theft by students was 415 cases in 2004 and 391 in 2005. How many cases were not reported?

The Education Ministry has a Special Task Force to combat indiscipline. Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mahadzir Mohd Khir will replace Hishamuddin as its chairman. That the ministry's flying squad visited 1,624 primary and secondary schools to monitor cases of indiscipline last year means that it is doing something. This is inadequate. It must look seriously into the effectiveness of amending laws such as the Police Act and the Child Act.

As Malaysians are concerned with indiscipline in schools, the Government ought to study why local authorities have been allowing the mushrooming of cyber cafes, entertainment outlets and computerised game machines without effective supervision. A few years ago, the police took action on many outlets for pinball machines, people thought things were looking up. Alas, within a short time, these outlets have sprung up again with more modern machines in centres all over the country. For example, the City Hall Kuala Lumpur appears ineffective in monitoring outlets in Kepong Baru, Metro Prima at 7th mile Kepong and Jinjang.

Is it the lack of amendments to the existing laws or the inefficient enforcement of authorities or the absence of integrity among some officials that contribute to underaged people appearing in adult outlets? It is imperative that the Ministry study all aspects. Meanwhile, all local authorities should buck up.

Dr Tan Seng Giaw


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