Malaysia is a country that is known for delicious foods, infamous politicians and violent crimes. And unfortunately, violence against children and women are getting more and more common these days. Soaring crime rates have always been a huge concern for those of us living in Malaysia; we are extremely cautious when walking alone at night, due to the fear that something bad may happen. But why are violent crimes getting more commonplace in Malaysia? What is the root of this problem?
Take a look at the daily newspapers, and it’s obvious that our crime rates are not falling. In fact, I tend to avoid reading the first and second pages of the newspaper — not because I choose to be ignorant, but because it is devastating and saddening to see headlines reporting violence crimes such as child abuse and rape.
Under the Child Act 2001 law, the act of caning children is not criminal. To me, however, it should be.
Caning has always been used in Malaysian culture to educate and discipline children, and it is widely accepted in the our society. The sale of canes are therefore very common in Malaysia; many night markets sell it in the open so that teachers and parents can buy them for the sakes of punishing their students and children.
Yet at the same time, caning is one of the corporal punishments used under Malaysia’s law. And to see something that is used against criminals be used against children is absolutely sickening.
In my opinion, this is the root of violent crimes in Malaysia. Teachers who cane children on the palm (and sometimes on the butt) for something as simple as not knowing the answer to a question or not doing their homework, is indirectly and subconsciously promoting violent crime in children’s minds.
Children are implicitly taught that “if you want to get something from someone, you have to hurt them”, which is where the problem of violent crimes begin. Whether it is a husband who abuses his wife or a teenager violently raping a woman, a lot of it starts with what that person was taught and influenced by as a child. Since most Malaysians spend at least 10 years in the formal school system, the act of caning gets deeply ingrained into the minds of innocent children, causing them to bring this mentality into the real world.
While inflicting pain to get children to complete tasks may sound like a scary scenario, the Malaysian authorities do not seem to be taking this issue seriously. It boggles my mind to know that an adult is capable of injuring children in this country without any thought of potential consequences. And despite the various options teachers have to discipline students, they often choose to use caning as an easy way out.
The Malaysian education system should not stick to traditional methods of corporal punishment; as in life, we are constantly evolving and need to adapt to changing times. Promoting anti-violence to children in schools is one of the best ways to stop violent crimes, and this means that teachers should not be allowed to lay their hands or canes on children under any circumstances. After all, we should not be fighting fire with fire.
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