Malaysian parents split on corporal punishment in schools
July 8th, 2019, Kim Ho

Malaysian parents split on corporal punishment in schools

Eight in ten use corporal punishment on their own children

While corporal punishment remains legal in Malaysian schools, Malaysian parents are divided on whether this should be the case, latest YouGov research finds.

Close to half (47%) of parents think that physical punishment should be allowed in schools, and one in five (20%) think that it shouldn’t. The remaining one third (33%) are undecided. Fathers are more in favour of schools carrying out physical punishment than mothers (58% vs. 36%). Similarly, those who use corporal punishment at home are more likely to be in favour of it being carried out in schools than those who don’t (50% vs. 36%).


Although not all parents agree on corporal punishment in schools, the majority (81%) carry out physical discipline at home. One in eight (12%) do this often, while over a third (38%) does so sometimes, and the remaining three in ten (31%) does so rarely. One in six (17%) never physically punish their children. 3% prefer not to say.

Over eight in ten (85%) Malaysian parents were subject to corporal punishment growing up. Data shows that those who grew up being physically punished are far more likely to conduct the same punishment on their own children, compared to those who did not (85% vs. 50%).


Though it is not illegal for parents to physically discipline their children in Malaysia, close to one in five (18%) think this should be. A quarter (24%) think that physical punishment amounts to child abuse.

Overall, the majority (73%) of parents think that physical punishment is sometimes necessary. The behaviour that Malaysian parents think most warrants physical discipline is stealing (63%), followed by bullying (54%) and violence (51%).

Jake Gammon, Head of Omnibus APAC at YouGov Omnibus commented: “Parenting styles vary, and the question of whether a child should be subject to corporal punishment is one that tends to spark debate. While it appears most Malaysian parents are comfortable with physically disciplining their children at home, they have split opinions as to whether this should be carried out by schools.”

***Results based on 619 Malaysian parents surveyed by YouGov Omnibus