Five years after 18-year-old T Nhaveen was brutally murdered, a memorandum to propose a robust Anti-Bullying Act and to declare June 15 as an Anti-Bullying Day was submitted to the Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) in Putrajaya earlier today.
A group comprising Nhaveen’s family, legal team, and Nail (Nhaveen Action & Investigation League) submitted the memorandum in the hope that it will lead to laws that make bullying a serious crime.
“It is time that Malaysia puts an end to the bullying issue in our nation,” said Arun Dorasamy, Nail’s chairperson, in a press conference held in AGC, Putrajaya.
In the memorandum sighted by Malaysiakini, Nhaveen’s team requested for the Act to be named after the victims of bullying. For example, calling it the “Anti-Bullying Law Zulfarhan-Nhaveen”.
In June 2017, Nhaveen and his friend, Previin, were attacked violently on their way home. Previin, who managed to escape, rushed to Nhaveen’s home to inform the victim’s family.
Nhaveen was later found with serious injuries and sent to Penang Hospital the following day, where he eventually succumbed to his injuries. At the time, Nhaveen was 18.
Around the same time, navy cadet officer Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain, a student at Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM), was allegedly assaulted to death by fellow university mates. He was reportedly tortured with a belt, rubber hose, iron and hanger.
Covering gaps in Penal Code
Along with some statistics from the Education Ministry and the Health Ministry, the memorandum also included concerns regarding the Penal Code.
“An Anti-Bullying Act needs to be put in place to address certain things like teasing and provocation, which our current Penal Code cannot address,” said Arun.
The Penal Code also does not address suicides that result from bullying. The memorandum cited a case from February 2014, where a secondary school student died after consuming pesticides as he could not endure the bullying he faced in school.
“In these cases where suicides are involved, no one can be charged,” said Arun, claiming that there are currently no laws that punish bullies who lead their victims to take their lives.
“Nhaveen and Zulfarhan were murdered due to bullying,” he said, adding that one death is already too many.
Bullying still prevalent today
Nhaveen and Zulfarhan’s cases were from five years ago. However, the issue of bullying didn’t stop there.
Just a few months ago, 13 Form Four students were arrested in connection with the assault of a 16-year-old student in a secondary school in Langkawi. A 25-second video of the student being beaten went viral on social media, garnering attention from the media.
Along with this recent case and the advancement of technology, many videos of fights involving school children, both boys and girls, have surfaced and made their rounds on the internet.
Meanwhile, according to Arun, AGC was quick to respond when he requested to submit a memorandum.
“The response from AGC was robust, they responded to me within 45 minutes of me sending in my request,” he told Malaysiakini.
He also noted that Wasri Ahmad Sujani, the officer who received the memorandum, gave him a personal promise that he will ensure that the proposal was passed on to the relevant authorities.
“Wasri told me that he will take it to the attention of the attorney-general and will give me updates and follow-ups,” he said.
Nail said that an Anti-Bullying Act would be able to equip the police, the Education Ministry, and schools with the right tools to address bullying effectively.
The memorandum also sought for the Anti-Bullying Act to cover all sectors such as work and sports, not just educational institutions. – Malaysiakini