Malaysia is considering allowing schools to cane unruly girls to curb an upsurge in discipline problems including gang fights and bullying, reports said Wednesday.
Currently only boys are caned in Malaysian schools, but only rarely and for serious offences. The punishment is administered on the buttocks or the palm of the hand.
Deputy Education Minister Noh Omar said a national education seminar this week had backed the proposal.
"This is because there are more girls in schools and some of them are becoming very problematic. Discipline problems are not confined to boys any more," he told the New Straits Times.
"Discipline problems in schools know no race, religion or rank. If caning for girls is approved, my own daughter will not be spared," he said.
Teachers' union secretary-general Loke Yim Pheng told the newspaper schoolgirls were becoming even more unruly than boys. "Girls with hard-core disciplinary problems should be given the hard approach if the soft approach does not work with them any more," she said.
Teachers at the national seminar recommended that girls be caned only on their palms and calves, and only by female teachers behind closed doors.