Why didn’t teachers stop Nhaveen’s bullies?


PETALING JAYA: Child activist Sharmila Sekaran has asked whether teachers at T Nhaveen’s former school had ignored the bullying that took place while he was still studying.

“Did they try to reach out to him and offer him help since one of them was reported as saying that Nhaveen was targeted by gang members?”

Although Nhaveen had apparently brushed off the bullying, teachers should not think the issue had ended, the Voice of Children chairman, who is also a lawyer, said.

“Did the teachers confront his bullies on why they were picking on Nhaveen?

“They should not think that the victim will ‘heal’ over time from such bullying.”

It was reported earlier today that a teacher from Nhaveen’s former school had said one of his attackers was a notorious student who had given Nhaveen a hard time during his schooldays.

“There is one boy who attacked him. I do not want to name names, but he had bullied Nhaveen for a long time.

“Even Nhaveen’s mother knows about this boy who disturbed him often. In short, he is a troublemaker,” the teacher said.

On June 9, Nhaveen and his friend, T Previin, 19, who both worked as promoters at Aeon Queensbay, had returned home to Gelugor after completing their night shift.

After stopping for a bite at a burger shop near their home, they were harassed by two other youths on a motorcycle, who were their former schoolmates.

The youths started teasing Nhaveen for being effeminate. He remained unperturbed but Previin became irritated.

The youths saw this as a threat and called three others for backup.

Previin fled before the other three arrived.

The gang took Nhaveen to a field at Jalan Kaki Bukit, about five minutes away, where they allegedly tortured him.

They bashed Nhaveen with crash helmets and were also alleged to have inserted a bottle or a stick into his anus.

The family claimed that Nhaveen’s sister was also harassed after the incident.

Police have been asked to provide an armed escort at Penang Hospital for Previin while he recovers from his injuries.

Five youths have been arrested for investigations.

Besides Nhaveen, another case of bullying that gained public attention was Malaysian National Defence University (UPNM) cadet Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain, who was said to have been beaten to death after being accused of stealing a laptop.

Zulfarhan, 21, died at Serdang Hospital on June 2, after he was warded with burns and other injuries on his body.

Five UPNM students were charged with the murder of the navy cadet yesterday while another was charged with abetment.

When asked if Malaysia needed anti-bullying laws to prevent similar tragedies, Sharmila said the Penal Code was sufficient to deal with assault cases.

Instead, she repeated calls for the education ministry to hold anti-bullying campaigns in schools.

“We do not need laws. We just need a day when students and teachers can come together and stress on zero tolerance against bullying.

“Parents, teachers and students should be able to deal with bullying.”

Law lecturer Shamsher Singh Thind had said those who assaulted Nhaveen should be charged with murder as their actions were a direct cause of him lying in hospital and his subsequent death.

“There is no reason for police to delay any further in classifying the case as murder.”

When asked for comments on Nhaveen’s former teachers apparently ignoring the long-term bullying in school, National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan said he did not wish to comment as the case was now under police investigation.

Earlier this week, Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation senior vice-chairman Lee Lam Thye said it was imperative for the education ministry, with the assistance of teachers and counsellors, to identify students prone to violence.

He said this would allow an intensive counselling programme to be carried out to help such individuals before they destroyed their own lives or that of others.

The social activist said bullying and violence among students and teenagers should be kept in check as the culture is gaining a foothold in local society.