PUTRAJAYA, Aug 14 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin wants parents and school authorities to give priority to addressing truancy and gangsterism among students.
He said although the issue had not reached an alarming level, it had the potentials to create more disciplinary problems such as drug abuse, snatch theft and other street crimes.
"An integrated efforts should be taken to deal with the problem at an early stage.
"For this purpose, the Education Ministry has mobilised its anti-truancy task force in districts, comprising district education officers, local authorities, parent-teacher's associations, teachers and local agencies," he said.
Muhyiddin, who is Education Minister, was speaking at a crime prevention campaign organised by the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation and the Education Ministry at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, here today.
He said that last year, a total of 52 districts had mobilised the task force, with 942 students caught playing truant.
"I believe the figure represents only a small portion of the actual truancy problems among students. I hope the task force can be mobilised in a more comprehensive manner.
"If it can play its role more effectively, I am confident that our objective of eradicating crimes and disciplinary problems among students can be achieved," he said.
Muhyiddin also said that although the crime rate involving students was small, at 0.03 per cent of the total crime incidents between 2004 and 2008, and 2.03 per cent of students with disciplinary problems during the period, there should not be a let up in the efforts to tackle the problem.
"If the problem is not tackle effectively from the beginning, it can go out of hand. We should think of an effective approach to address crime and disciplinary problems among students," he said.
He also said that punishing indiscipline students would not be sufficient.
Being exposed to all kinds of information, either from the Internet or their peer, the young generation needed the mental strength to choose a life free of crime, he said.
"Schools and law enforcement agencies alone would not be able to eradicate crime. More important is the role of parents and society," he said, adding that parents played a particularly important role in instilling noble values in their children.
"Work commitment is not an excuse for neglecting the children. Parents should identify problems faced by their children at the early stage so that appropriate action can be taken to address them," he said.
Children should also be encouraged to take part in healthy activities and to lead a crime-free life, he said.
"Sports activities should be held not only in schools but also among the local community. School authorities, PTAs, community leaders and sports bodies can cooperate to organise these events," he said. -- BERNAMA