KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A video of a Sabah schoolboy violently beating up one of his classmates went viral, prompting Malaysia's Education Ministry to investigate.
However, it emerged that the victim allegedly teased his tormentor about his late father.
The 2 ½-minute clip, taken at a religious school in Putatan, Sabah on Aug 30, showed the two boys facing off in a classroom while their classmates looked on.
In the middle of a makeshift ring fashioned from tables and chairs, the victim is seen being pushed to the ground several times, as the other boy throws punches, kicks, slaps and hurls chairs at him.
At one point, he performs a choke hold on the victim, who does not attempt to fight back.
Their classmates can be seen sitting on chairs, watching the fight. Some are heard laughing, while one says "sudahlah" (finish).
The video has been seen over 1 million times since it was posted on Monday (Sept 5) evening. It has also been shared more than 32,000 times and attracted more than 6,700 reactions.
Penampang district police chief Deputy Supt Rosley Hobden said on Tuesday that the scuffle started because the attacker was angry that the alleged victim had teased him about his late father.
He added that the two 12-year-olds had been called by the police to give their statements. The parents of the victim have filed a police report.
"We have recorded the statements of both boys and the witnesses," he said. "The victim did not sustain any serious injury."
He said investigations were carried out for assault. The police will be forwarding the investigation paper to the Deputy Public Prosecutor for further action.
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry is conducting an investigation of its own.
"The ministry already has very clear and concise SOPs in regards to bullying," Deputy Minister P. Kamalanathan told The Star on Tuesday.
"We may need to reevaluate the delivery and messaging if the violent cases continue to happen," he said.
"Bullying of any kind is abhorred and the ministry will continue to keep the safety and well-being of students as a priority."