BINTULU: Every complaint about bullying in schools must be acted upon at once, otherwise school heads will be deemed to be negligent.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Noh Omar, who came out with the caution, said those found negligent would face severe disciplinary action, adding that transfers had not proven to be effective.
He said the ministry had had it with persistent cases of school bullying, adding that it was now time to show “zero tolerance.”
“The ministry has been trying very hard to stop bullying incidents in schools, issuing countless reminders, circulars and even holding seminars and forming committees.
“There will be no compromise anymore with any party, not even the school management or teachers.
“If teachers or headmasters refuse to act on complaints of bullying from students, or are slow in acting, they can even be demoted or sacked,” he told reporters after visiting SM Teknik Bintulu boarding school to inquire about the death of student Matteus Mering, 16, last Saturday.
The post-mortem on Matteus, who was allegedly assaulted by fellow students, showed that he died due to trauma.
Eighteen students have been arrested, and are being remanded pending investigations.
Noh rejected claims that this was a case of ragging, stressing that it was school bullying.
Rose Kundu Bedindang, the deceased’s mother, said Mering had not complained of ragging to her.
“He is a quiet boy and had just started schooling in this school,” she said after receiving more than RM5,000 as insurance payment from Takaful Malaysia.
The deputy minister extended further comfort to Bedindang, who earns RM300 a month as an odd job worker, by pledging to help her get a contract job with the ministry.
Noh said boarding school managements should step up security after office hours and on weekends to better ensure safety.