Two Royal Malaysian Navy personnel died at the Sungai Wangi detention unit in Sitiawan, Perak, on Sept 29. FILE PIC

THE time has come for the government to set up a task force to tackle violence involving teenagers and youth. Under the initiative, the government could also mobilise its resources to end the violence.

This is important in view of the spate of bullying and violence that resulted in deaths.

We must ensure that Malaysia will not turn into a nation of bullies, as recent cases have shown that the perpetrators included primary and secondary school students, teenagers, adults and military institutions.

In the Sept 29 incident, two personnel of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) died at the Sungai Wangi Unit detention room in Sitiawan, Perak, after they were allegedly tortured.

Police have classified the case as murder based on the post-mortem on Nik Muhammad Baihaqy Nik Mat, 28, and Muhammad Lailaltulman Mohd Sukri, 26.

Another two RMN personnel have also lodged police reports, claiming that they were tortured at the same detention unit.

Police have arrested five RMN personnel in connection with the two cases.

Cases involving cruelty and violence in schools, educational and military institutions must be looked into by the authorities and society to find solutions.

On June 9, T. Nhaveen,18, was allegedly assaulted, burned and sodomised by a group of teen-agers around midnight at a field in Bukit Gelugor, Penang.

The incident happened less than two weeks after Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia student Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain, 21, died at Serdang Hospital on June 1, after he was allegedly assaulted by a group of university students in Serdang.

On Aug 24, a 7-year-old boy died two days after he was allegedly assaulted by his 12-year-old senior at a primary school’s hostel in Kapit, Sarawak.

Education Ministry statistics show that there were 14,000 cases of bullying reported between 2012 and 2015, but there are many cases that may have not been reported.

It seems that we have sadists who enjoy torturing others and watching them suffer.

Most minors get into crime because of negative peer influence, insufficient parental guidance, bad influence of the Internet and gangsterism.

Bullying and violence should be kept in check. Hardly a day passes without violence being committed.

What has happened goes against our national vision, which is to build a caring society and promote caring values.

We must also look at the deteriorating mental health issue and how it has led to this bullying, torture and sadistic cases.

The National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2015 showed that about 4.2 million Malaysians aged 16 and above, or 29.2 per cent of the population, suffered from mental problems.

The number is alarming because it shows an increase of 11.2 per cent compared with that in 2006.

More troubling, the problem also involves students as the ratio of those facing mental problems has increased from one in 10 people in 2011, to one in five, last year. Experts said anxiety and depression were the main causes of mental health problems among students.

The question now is whether our nation is doing enough to promote mental health development. My answer is “no”.

Other contributing factors include family problems, physical and cyberbullying, and pressure from parents and teachers.

I believe that the culture of violence should be tackled with the support of parents, psychologists and non-governmental organisations.

Let us mobilise the nation through sustainable program-mes to promote kindness and compassion in educational institutions and reject violence.

We must never become a nation of bullies but one based on compassion, kindness and mutual respect for one another.

Even if punishment is to be meted out against someone, it must be based on the rule of law and in accordance with standard operating procedures.

TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE

Senior vice-chairman, Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation

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