PETALING JAYA - Students in public universities have condemned physical abuse during ragging, saying that freshies should speak up if they are harassed.
Chan Kheng Fai, a member of the Universiti Malaya (UM) student council, said the university's student affairs department was very strict about the matter.
The third-year law student said there were do's and don'ts for the orientation session.
Goh Seong Ling, 21, a third-year undergraduate from UM, said ragging was definitely not an acceptable practice.
The dentistry student disagreed that there was a need for hierarchy between junior and senior students, but said there should be a level of respect between these two parties.
They were commenting on the warning issued by the vice-chancellors of public universities, ahead of the fresh intake of undergraduates this weekend, that those who ragged juniors would be expelled.
This followed the death of 16-year-old student Mohammad Naim at the Royal Military College recently after he was reportedly bullied by seniors. So far, an RMC student has been expelled while four others have been suspended.
Muhd Azham Aizad Hamdan, 22, a final-year undergraduate in estate management at UM, said ragging was necessary for the juniors to learn about respect.
"I am open to mental ragging in which the juniors learn to obey orders from the seniors. It is then that values such as respect for elders and punctuality can be instilled," he said.
Muhd Azham, who used to study in a boarding school, said the ragging that he had to undergo made him a better person.
"However, violent behaviour like punching and kicking is definitely not acceptable," he said.
Another student, Teh Hon Yu, urged the Government to take steps to curb the situation before it deteriorated, adding that NGOs too should get involved to create awareness on the issue.
-The Star/Asia News Network