updated 2 Nov 2013, 23:27
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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
The Star/ANN
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Spend more time with your children, say experts
by Kevin Tan and Christine Cheah

Kuala Lumpur - Parents should spend more time with their children and monitor their activities so that they are less inclined to be involved in crime, said mental health specialists.

"Parents should be blamed. Children these days are affluent.

"They have access to money and parents don't even know how much money their children bring to school," said Malaysian Mental Health Association deputy president Assoc Prof Dr Andrew Mohanraj.

Dr Andrew added that gangs were more likely to prey on these kids, which would lead them to being extorted, using drugs and being involved in criminal activities.

According to him, urbanisation and living conditions also play a role in the rise of criminal activities among youths.

"There are more nuclear families and fewer extended families these days.

"This causes lesser interaction between children and the community surrounding them," said Dr Andrew.

Although federal police NKRA secretariat director Comm Datuk Wira Ayob Yaakob encouraged school authorities to work with the police to curb gangsterism, Dr Andrew expressed doubt over the effectiveness of this approach.

"Teachers today are not looked upon as role models by their students. Even primary students do not respect the school as an institution and because of this, teachers are reluctant to intervene even when they know of gang fights and so on," he added.

HELP University anti-bullying coordinator Mohd Iftkhar Salam, who has been working closely with R.AGE - The Star's youth platform - on its national R.AGE Against Bullying campaign (, said that if the bullies think they can get away with their bullying, they might repeat the behaviour.

"If you go to a classroom and see all the students well-behaved, with no bullying happening, you know it is because the teacher is strict and does not allow such things to happen in his or her classroom.

"It is when you allow it to happen that the bullies and criminals become braver because they know they can get away with it.

"People know right from wrong. If the right steps are taken to ensure students are aware that bullies and criminals will be caught, then change can happen," said Mohd Iftkhar.

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