Understand why schoolchildren join gangs, says analyst


KUALA LUMPUR: Understanding why schoolchildren join triads is vital before any action is taken against them.

Crime analyst Kamal Affandi Hashim said students join such groups for the attention, recognition and presumed protection.

“Secret societies don’t advertise themselves publicly on the billboards. Yet, they are able to attract followers just like businesses, with their own marketers, agents, and recruiters.

“They do an aggressive campaign, targeting those of a certain age to join them. If we understand how they work, then we will be able to nab these ‘gatekeepers’ behind the recruitment,” he said.

Other than punishing the students, authorities, as well as teachers and parents, must have a two-way communication with them, said Kamal.

“We better begin to communicate with these students. This includes understanding their need and showing that we want to help. 

“For instance, if these students don’t like to study, we must acknowledge this. Send them to vocational schools or music schools, if that’s what they like. 

“The problem is when adults force the children to follow their demands. They are not listening to the need of the children.”

National Union of the Teaching Profession president Kamarolzaman Abd Razak suggested the Education Ministry set up a special programme similar to that of the National Service for students involved with gangs. 

Kamarolzaman said the activities in the programme would include social service and a visit to a prison.

“Many of these children only hang out among themselves. We must send them to attend such programmes so they can mix with society. When they join the social service through such programmes, they will know how it feels to contribute to society. The programmes should include activities with enforcement agencies, too.

“For instance, when they join the police on sea patrol, they will see how people work hard to take care of the country. This will create awareness and give them a sense of purpose on what they want to do in life to contribute to the country,” he said. 

Kamarolzaman said efforts to change these students must involve physical activities as they don’t listen to lectures. 

“That’s why they don’t like to study. They get bored with it. They will not listen even if schools invite motivational speakers with the hope of changing them.”