KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — Eighteen-year-old T. Nhaveen was heading to a burger stall with his friend last weekend before he was attacked by his former school bullies with helmets and sticks, leaving him clinically brain dead.
When details came out that he was also sodomised with an object and there were burn marks on his backs, the nation recoiled with horror at the savagery displayed by our teenagers.
Five boys aged between 16 and 18 have since been remanded, but it was clear by then that Nhaveen had been on the receiving end of bullying for a long time. For those who have faced the same threats, intimidation and harassment all their lives, this was not really a surprise.
Penang police later confirmed that Nhaveen died at 6pm today.
In February, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid announced that in cases of bullying in schools, a gang leader would face a six-month suspension from school, while his accomplices would be suspended for two months.
Previously in October last year, the minister proposed a year-long suspension in community service or time in a rehabilitation centre for the aggressors.
But it may need more than punishment to curb bullying, as violence and toxic masculinity have seeped into the minds of students who see schools and higher learning institutions as an arena to prove their social superiority.
Here are five other recent cases of extreme bullying at education institutions. Some ended up dead.
1. Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain, aged 21
Navy cadet Zulfarhan was pronounced dead at the Serdang Hospital on June 1 with bruises and scald marks all over his body.
It was believed that he was found dead at a rented apartment unit in Block B of D’Centrum Apartments, after he was assaulted and tortured by 20 to 30 fellow cadets at the Army Trainee dormitory at the National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM) in Sungai Besi.
The assault happened over allegations of laptop theft, caused by a remark uttered by a bomoh, or a shaman.
Post-mortem found swelling on his eyelid, scalding all over his body including his private parts, while burns covered almost 80 per cent of the victim’s body. The pathologist also found swelling on the skin of the head and broken left ribs.
Some of the 32 UPNM students earlier detained for the probe under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder were charged yesterday.
2. Six MRSM Parit students, aged 14
Six Form Two students of the Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) in Parit, Perak were assaulted by 10 third and fourth formers on May 5 for allegedly refusing to lend their football shoes to their seniors.
One of the students was reportedly brought to the Ampang Hospital by his mother, a forensics doctor, who established that her son suffered from a fractured left rib, injuries to the head, back and stomach as well as bruises to the chest.
In a police report lodged by the mother on May 18, the student’s head was allegedly hit by a blunt object after it was covered by a prayer mat. He was punched, spat on and had his head slammed against the wall. The seniors also forced him to drink hot water and held his face under a running tap.
Perak Tengah district police chief Superintendent Mohamad Zainal Abdullah however told the media that there were no serious physical injuries.
Rural and Regional Development Deputy Minister Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub has since announced on May 24 that the ten students have been expelled by the Mara College appeals committee. They had previously been suspended pending the probe.
3. S. Pravin, 15, from Nilai
Pravin died at the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital in Seremban, Negri Sembilan, on May 2, less than a week after he was admitted on April 27 for stomach ache, swollen throat and vomiting.
In a police report lodged by his father on April 28, the victim said he was forced to drink what he claimed as “poison” by a group of students after he had scolded them for inhaling glue.
The police report stated that the group of students had held Pravin down before forcing the poison down his throat behind some shophouses in Nilai.
The case was investigated under Section 328 of the Penal Code on causing hurt by means of poison.
Nilai police chief Superintendent Zaldino Zaludin however was quoted saying that another witness had claimed that Pravin ingested insecticide due to unrequited love.
4. Aiman Hazim Zulkeflee, 15, from Pengkalan Chepa
Aiman was rushed to the Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital in Kota Baru, Kelantan on April 6 last year after he fell unconscious in school.
Kelantan criminal investigations chief Assistant Police Commissioner Ahmad Taufek Abdullah was quoted saying that the Form Three student sustained a neck fracture after he was believed to have been beaten by a Form Four senior at school.
The school, SMK Pengkalan Chepa, suspended Aiman instead after the Kelantan Education Department claimed its investigations showed he was the one who started the fight.
Five days later on April 11, the student who assaulted him was remanded for four days under Section 325 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing grievous hurt.
His father Dr Zulkeflee Yaacob will now file a suit against the school, the mother of the senior student, and the Kelantan Education Department.
5. Muhammad Ali Shukran Alias, eight, from Klang
Year Two student Alif was taken to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang on March 24 last year, after he was found bleeding when coming outside the toilet.
His mother had lodged a police report the next day, claiming he was forced to snip off the tip of his own tongue if he did not want to be punched by five Year Three students at the school.
Two months later on May 31, Selangor police chief Datuk Abdul Samah Mat reportedly said there was no proof of bullying, and he had “accidently cut his own tongue”. The case was promptly closed.