Bullying in Malaysia

Acts of bullying is still increasing in the Asian world; it is taking its place through different countries with Malaysia being one of them. With referring to any act that cause any person harm or leaves the person feeling powerless with no ability to defend himself, Malaysia is taking its researches to a higher level in order to fight the bullying acts. Having a high percentage of kids being bullied at schools that reached 64%, Malaysia is trying to prevent bullying with its different shapes and types whether direct bullying, indirect bullying or cyber bullying. Learn about Bullying in Malaysia.

Bullying in Malaysian schools:

Supposedly schools should be the place where the children have their best memories, start making their lifetime friends, and start interacting and having their places in the world. The school’s life asks for a wide social interaction, but that does not happen in the cases of bullying that takes place in the schools. The schools that bullying appears in usually shatters all the previous dreams of having a good memories and good friends for the child, because it will be replaced with acts of hatred, acts of leaving the child powerless, with no friends to sit with, talk with or even have fun with.

Unfortunately the school bullying phenomenon in Malaysia is increasing; the act of bullying is defined to as any ill behavior that is repeated by one student or a group of students towards another, leaving that person helpless. The school bullying also takes different forms, it can be verbal such as calling names, or gossiping about the victim, it can be physical such as hitting, spitting, or shoving, and it can be cyber bullying which takes place through the technological devices.

Bullying in Malaysian schools, like any other country happens the most, it takes place anywhere in the school, and comes in different shapes and forms like for example the name calling, labeling or teasing which some consider more painful than the physical punches because they get hurt from the inside, they will keep remembering what they have been called for a long period of time. The name calling and the teasing usually happen by the children because they know they will never get caught as they didn’t leave any scar behind and they tend to do it when the teachers or parents are not around. There is also the exclusion which makes the victim feels so much alone, so much not likable and so much not needed around, and this usually affects him/her afterwards, as they feel like they don’t want to be around people anymore.

Threatening is one famous type of bullying because it can be verbal or written or it can be send as an audio or video through the internet, which might be part of the cyber bullying as well. And there is the physical bullying which include any act that will cause physical apparent harms on the victim like bruises, torn out clothes and appearances of blood.

According to a study that was done on the schools in Malaysia, it was found that 93.5% of the students in secondary schools were being bullied at indirectly, while 68.2% admitted that they were being bullied at directly, and all of them agreed that most of the bullying acts that happen in the schools take place in the classrooms, and the boys being more involved in these acts more than the girls are. The same study showed that 53.2% were being involved in the bullying acts themselves, while 79.4% were being victims of those acts, some of them were being bullied in a physical way while others were being bullied at in a psychological way.

The problem with the students who bully other people is that they believe to have above average self esteem which leads them to adopt such behaviors, other characteristics of the bullies might include:

§ Impulsive, hot headed personalities

§ Lack of empathy

§ Difficulty in conforming to rules

§ Positive attitude towards violence, which is the most dangerous one of them and mainly leads to that person bullying others.

The victim of such acts also appears to have some effects from bullying acts:

§ Loss of interest to go and attend school classes, and that might be some kind of fear from going to school and facing the person bullying him. And that leads to drop of this person attending school and therefore drop in the grades.

§ Loss of interest in the social life, or in making new friends, that person might lose interest in leaving his/her alone comfort zone at all.

§ The person’s inability to control his anger.

§ Entering the phase of depression

§ The victim might also suffer from loss of sleep, poor appetite, and suffering from headaches and stomach pains.

§ In case of the victim being engaged in the physical bullying acts, there might be an appearance for bruises or scratches.

According to a research that was done by the UNICEF communications in Malaysia, it was found that not only the bully and the victim suffer from such acts, but sometimes in the cases of the appearance of a witness, it might affect them as well, and might lead to:

§ Their feeling of being helpless because they don’t know what to do or how to react to what is happening in front of them.

§ They might feel guilty for not taking an action or trying to help in some way.

§ They might feel that they are the bully’s next target, and some might even have nightmares about it.

§ The witnesses might fear some specific places in schools that they witnesses bullying acts in before.

Preventing school bullying in Malaysia:

Bullying whether it was verbal, physical or cyber, it usually leads to depression, low self of esteem, fear of going to school or knowing new people, and worse the fear of interacting with people and engaging in the social life. But what’s worse than that is the time when the victim thinks that the only way to stop being bullied at is to end their lives, to commit suicide. To avoid such act, students should be open to learn and that only comes in a community that makes the child feel safe and comfortable physically, emotionally and intellectually. When the student feels safe he will open up easily to learning and discovering, to interacting with his peers and teachers, and to sharing his opinions and stories.

The UNICEF communications in Malaysia is working hard against the acts of bullying in schools, and one of the things it did was piloting the School Bullying Prevention Program that increase the school safety, in partnership with HELP university college and the Ministry of Education. This program is a six months long that was implemented in three schools in the Klang Valley, the program was supposed to put some policies and activities that will help the students to respond and prevent bullying acts, as well as teaching them some life skills to keep them more confident in dealing with aggression. This model was based on the Olweus School Intervention Model that has been successfully introduced in different parts of the world, which meets the following needs:

§ Timely and effective interventions of victims of bully incidences.

§ Implementing anti-bullying programs in schools.

§ Teaching students and making them fully aware that bullying is not at all an act that is acceptable and permissible.

§ Training not only students but teachers and parents as well to know what the bullying behavior exactly is and how should they deal with it.

§ Give the children, teachers and parents some accurate information about what bullying is, it’s factors and effects, how it should be treated and prevented.

UNICEF believes that as much as schools are important in building a society for the children where they feel safe and confident and reduce their likelihood of being victimized by the bullies, it also believes that the family member have a more critical role.

Cyber bullying in Malaysia:

It is agreed on that cyber bullying is the most dangerous kind of bullying which in some countries come after the schools, as it can take place any time during the day, it can even reach a person in the killing dark of the night, it does not require the appearance of the victim. Cyber bullying is referred to as using the internet or any other technological devices such as mobile phones to send harmful and aggressive messages through e-mails, text messages or social media, leaving the victim feeling harmful and powerless. Malaysia is ranked the seventeenth highest in the online bullying with one in four of the children saying that they have suffered from cyber bullying, and 77% of them agreed that cyber bullying is one of the newest ways the bullies use to target their victims. People should distinguish between cyber bullying which is usually happening between children and youth and cyber harassment and stalking which is usually done among adults.

Cyber bullying does come in different forms, such as:

§ Unwelcomed text messages that can be threatening for the person.

§ Sending e-mails and the bully usually changes his real name on the internet to stay anonymous for the victim.

§ Using social media to share the victim’s pictures and information.

§ Using mobile phones to record or take videos for the victims and share them to make them feel ashamed and uncomfortable

Since Malaysia believes that cyber bullying was increasing due to the preponderance of the youth who share their personal information and passwords on the social media networking websites, as Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah said. He also mentioned that Cyber Security Malaysia had introduced various measures to raise awareness on cyber bullying among internet users especially student, such as organizing the Safer Internet day since 2010 in order to teach the students how to use the online technology in a more responsible way.

Workplace bullying in Malaysia:

Malaysia believes that some acts is not considered bullying and might be part of the working culture if it was not considered unacceptable by the employee, but if it was against the employer’s rights, then in this case it is considered an act of bullying. Halim Mansour, the Malaysian Trade Union Congress general secretary says that nowadays the kind of workplace bullying is different from the one found in schools, it is when the employers are not given proper protection, not enrolled to social security (SOCSO) and Employee Provident Fund (EPF), and face sexual harassment acts and violence of their basic rights as per the Malaysian Employment Act.

The problem with the workplace bullying is that most of the employers do not know their total rights, therefore they don’t know when they are being bullied, and that is one reason why every company should write down its program to introduce its rules and regulations, working culture, benefits and rights for its employees.

Bullying stories in Malaysia:

One of the bullying stories in Malaysia actually took place in work, when the brand manager Adilah, who was 28 years old, was sexually harassed by her boss who was usually giving her comments about her body, and asking her to drive him home several times with inviting her to come up to his apartment when he was all alone. This goes against Adilah’s religion since she is Muslim. Adilah left her work soon after she was again asked to share a room with two males on a business trip.

Another story that was the reason behind the emergence of the internet is the case of the school girl who was being attacked by about 10 girls who started kicking her on the staircase after they were playing with their mobiles having “selfies” and even posing with flashing the “peace signs” in front of the camera. The girls were dragging the victim, kicking her and pulling her hair, that even the girl appeared in the video trying to protect her face from their punches. The police were investigating the accident afterwards to know what happened and the reasons behind such incident.



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