SHAH ALAM: Nurul Izzah Anwar (pic) has called on Parliament to follow the example of students and implement a National Kindness Week every year.
“A Kindness Week in Parliament – it’s a great idea!” said the Permatang Pauh MP in response to a suggestion from a student about extending the #StandTogether National Kindness Week programme to adults as well.
“Having been in the Opposition for so long, I think it is important to extend some empathy (to the current Opposition).
“The Prime Minister must co-exist with the opposition leader. Government MPs must co-exist with opposition MPs. So, kindness at that level is important because we are all representatives speaking for you,” she said.
Nurul Izzah was speaking at the #EndViolence Youth Talk forum on school violence and bullying.
She was part of a panel that included South Korean superstar and Unicef Korea goodwill representative Choi Si-won and Batu MP P. Prabakaran.
She then asked Prabakaran to join her in introducing a Kindness Week in Parliament.
“I was bullied in Parliament just the other day!” said Prabakaran, a second year law student, in response.
“One of the other MPs came up to me and asked ‘tak pergi sekolah ke?’ (you’re not in school today?) I replied ‘baru habis’ (I just finished class),” he said to applause.
Nurul Izzah also spoke candidly about her own experiences with bullying to an audience of 50 students and teachers, many of whom were involved in the National Kindness Week campaign.
“I’ve also been bullied in Parliament. So, you’re never alone.
“Everyone can be a survivor – the fact that you’re here means you have survived it.
“As legislators, what we can do is create laws to make schools safer.
“We can make sure that legislation to protect children, both on social media and in schools, is pushed through,” Nurul Izzah told the students.
Choi, a member of boy band Super Junior, said students in Malaysia had to stand up for their rights.
“If there are no more bystanders, then there will be no more bullying,” he said.
Choi said he was impressed by what the students and schools were able to achieve through National Kindness Week.
“There’s a lot of negativity and anger today. If you can make someone kind, even if it’s just for one week, that’s an important first step,” he said.
Youth Talk is a global forum by Unicef for children to speak up about important issues, and yesterday’s edition, the first in Malaysia, was co-organised by Unicef Malaysia and Digi.
The other panellists were Unicef National Ambassador to Malaysia Lisa Surihani, Digi head of sustainability Philip Ling, HELP University professor of psychology Dr Goh Chee Leong and Unicef representative to Malaysia Marianne Clark-Hattingh.
The event started with the students presenting their thoughts to the panellists after a day of brainstorming solutions to violence and bullying in schools and online.
One or two of the students will be selected to represent Malaysia at a global #EndViolence Youth Talk held in Unicef’s New York headquarters.
There, they will help shape an international “youth manifesto” on ending violence in schools.
“Honestly, the most exciting part of the event was seeing politicians and people I look up to actually understand what we feel and go through every day,” said Tharneesya Arumainathan, a student from SM Subang Utama.
Unicef Malaysia and Digi were also part of the organising committee for the inaugural #StandTogether National Kindness Week, held on the first week of April this year with around 750 schools volunteering to take part.
The campaign was initiated by R.AGE and property developer SP Setia, in response to a spate of deadly bullying cases in 2017, including that of teenager T. Nhaveen, who was beaten to death.