: The number of students involved in violent crimes and gangsterism in the country are on the rise, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi Saturday.
As such he has urged all parties, including schools and the community to jointly address the problem.
Zahid said according to statistics, the number of students involved in violent crimes had risen as much as 47 percent, from 368 students in 2012 to 542 in 2013.
The percentage was even higher for those who had dropped out of school, with 849 cases reported in 2012 and 2011 cases in 2013.
"These numbers are worrying. What's even worrying is that these numbers represent reported cases and those that have been investigated. There are cases that have not been reported," he told reporters at a Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) annual general meeting today.
Zahid said the authorities, including the MCPF, the police and schools, do not want the trend to continue, adding that these crimes involve those as young as seven years old.
For students involved in murder cases, there was an increase from 10 cases reported in 2012 to 11 cases in 2013.
Rape cases also saw an increase from 113 to 218 reported in 2013.
Cases of fighting or 'causing hurt' rose to 530 in 2013 from 244 cases the year before. There was also a drastic increase of gang robberies, from 261 cases in 2012 to 700.
Zahid said the increase were more apparent in three areas, namely Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Sabah. However, he said that the authorities are studying the root cause of the increase.
Zahid said that many of these students had the support of gangsters outside of schools, and investigations showed at least half of them are involved in gangs.
"There are those who don't want to tarnish the name of their schools and do not report the incident to the police, including extortion, fighting. But if it happened outside of the schools compound, it is the community's responsibility to tell us.
He urged schools to be more pro-active in notifying authorities and not cover-up cases.
"There are schools that want to settle it internally, that's good but what if it cannot be solved? I urge the teachers and the principals to come to us. Don't worry, we won't reveal the names of their schools," he said.