By Mohd Ashraf Syafiq Mazlan and Rozainah Abdul Rahim
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- The deaths of two students in June this year cast the spotlight on the issue of bullying in the country.
The deaths of T. Nhaveen and navy cadet officer Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain received wide media coverage and became a hot topic on social media nationally and internationally, with many netizens questioning the mental health of society, especially the youth.
Nhaveen, 18, was bullied and viciously assaulted by a group of youths in Jalan Kaki Bukit, George Town, Penang, resulting in him becoming brain dead. He died in the Intensive Care Unit of the Penang Hospital without coming out of a coma.
His friend, T. Previin, 19, who was also reportedly assaulted with motorcycle helmets, managed to escape and summon help.
Following the incident, four youths, among them Form Four and Five students, were charged in the George Town Magistrate's Court with the murder of Nhaveen. On Dec 6, the court set Jan 11, 2018, for case management.
The death of Zulfarhan, 21, who was assaulted by his university mates after he was accused of stealing a laptop, raised the question of safety and security in institutes of higher learning.
The third-year electrical engineering student died at the Serdang Hospital with bruises and burn marks on his chest, hands and feet, believed to have been caused by an electric iron.
Thirty-six Universiti Pertanian Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) and Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten) students were detained to help in the investigation into the murder, and 19 UPNM students were charged with the murder of, conspiracy to commit the murder of and causing hurt to Zulfarhan.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court has set 14 days beginning Jan 29, 2018, for the trial.
In a third reported case of bullying, six Form Two students of the Parit Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) in Perak were bullied by 10 senior students for refusing to lend his football boots.
The case ended with all 10 of the senior students, aged 15 and 16, being expelled from the school after they were found guilty of the crime.
The deaths of two Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) personnel at the Sungai Wangi detention unit of the RMN, apparently due to bullying by three personnel, showed that bullying and abuse were not confined to schools and tertiary institutions.
According to the post-mortem reports, the deaths of Muhammad Baihaqy Nik Mat, 28, and Muhammad Lailatuliman Mohd Sukri, 26, resulted from bleeding in the lungs due to a blunt force applied to the body.
On Nov 24, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government would implement four measures to tackle cases of bullying. The decision was made at a meeting of the National Social Council which he chairs.
The measures were the classification of data which meets the definition of bullying; effective collaboration to provide for integrated social intervention among the state education departments, social welfare departments, National Population and Family Development Board and the police; discussing the social agenda at meetings of the state action committees and district action committees; and the use of the social media by corporate bodies and NGOs that act as the agents of anti-bullying.