DPM seeks tighter child abuse laws

Source: Malay Mail

Dr Wan Azizah said her ministry is looking at bolstering regulations against domestic violence and sexual harassment. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, June  12 — Malaysia plans to tighten existing laws protecting children against sexual violence and hold guardians and teachers accountable for ignoring telltale signs of abuse, the nation’s first female Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said.

An act on sexual offences against children was passed last year under the former government of ex-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. It aims to protect minors below 18 years old and makes child pornography and sexually communicating with a child an offense. Dr Wan Azizah, who holds a second portfolio as the minister of women, family and community development, said there’s room to strengthen the law to make it more effective.

“Ultimately there have to be laws to hold primary caregivers ignoring child abuse incidences accountable,” Dr Wan Azizah, who has nine grandchildren, said in an interview at her office in Putrajaya. Read more

Drive to end child sexual crimes gets global nod

Source: The Star

PETALING JAYA: The story of Malaysia’s war against child sexual crimes has gained worldwide recognition, thanks to a global report by Unicef.

Its annual State of the World’s Children (SOWC) flagship report highlighted R.AGE’s Predator In My Phone campaign and the Government passing new laws against child sexual crimes last year.

“It’s not common to see government agencies, NGOs, celebrities and the media coming together for the same goal, but we saw that in Malaysia last year,” said Unicef Malaysia chief of communications Laurent Duvillier.

Read more

Keeping poor urban kids safe from drug trap

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: A child rights NGO has urged the government to set up activity centres in poor urban areas for children to occupy their time safely after school.

According to Scott Wong, the executive director of Suriana Welfare Society, one of the main reasons children of the urban poor become drug abusers is that they are exposed to bad influences at the low-cost flats many of them live in.

“After school, they are unsupervised while their parents are away at work, and they meet up with older teens and others who are involved in drugs,” he told FMT.

“Because of the lack of positive influences, these drug users become the role models to these children.”

Read more

Malaysia: Communities still in denial months after case of UK’s ‘worst paedophile’

Source: Asian Correspondent

MORE than six months after Richard Huckle was sentenced to life in jail for sexually abusing scores of children, most of the families in the Malaysian communities where he lived are declining counselling and other help, police say.

Huckle had posed as a freelance photographer, English teacher and Western philanthropist over the past decade to gain access mostly to impoverished communities in Kuala Lumpur, where taboos around child sex abuse often prevent families from disclosing it.

Police reached out to 320 adults and 101 children in two communities affected by Huckle, Ong Chin Lan, the head of the Sexual, Women and Children Investigation Division of the Malaysian national police said in an interview.

“We have identified a few victims. We have tried to identify communities,” Ong said. “But we respect the parents and guardians’ view of not coming forward. They don’t want to lodge a police report because of pride and shame.” Read more

Unicef Malaysia: Child marriages rob boys, girls of their dignity

Source: The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: Child marriages rob boys and girls of their rights and dignity, says Unicef Malaysia.

“Whether it happens to a girl or a boy, child marriage robs children of their childhood, their rights and their dignity.

“Child marriage, which frequently inhibits a child’s basic rights to health, education and protection from harm, is condemned in international conventions, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Malaysia acceded to 21 years ago,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Unicef said young brides are often isolated, removed from immediate families, taken out of school and denied interaction with their peers and communities, adding that this puts girls at risk of early and unwanted pregnancies, posing life-threatening consequences.

“Child marriage, as so rightly put by the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim a couple of weeks ago, is a serious violation of human rights that impacts all aspects of a child’s life, especially girls,” said Unicef.

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Undang-undang bakal benarkan sesiapa saja lapor ibu bapa cuai

Sumber: The Malaysian Insider

Pindaan Akta Kanak-Kanak akan turut menghukum ibu bapa dan penjaga yang didapati membiarkan anak mereka tanpa pengawasan sehingga menyebabkan kemalangan dan kematian. – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider, 18 Januari, 2016.

Pindaan Akta Kanak-Kanak 2001 bakal membenarkan mana-mana pihak melaporkan ibu bapa atau penjaga yang cuai sehingga menyebabkan kecederaan fizikal, emosi dan seksual kanak-kanak jagaan mereka, kata Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat hari ini.

Menurut penasihat undang-undangnya Zahida Zakaria, perkara itu tertakluk dalam Rang Undang-undang Kanak-kanak (Pindaan) 2015 yang bertujuan mendidik ibu bapa supaya bertanggungjawab dalam pengawasan anak-anak mereka.

Zahida merujuk perkara itu kepada beberapa kes kecuaian ibu bapa seperti meninggalkan anak di dalam kereta berseorangan, meninggalkan anak tanpa keperluan asas yang mencukupi di rumah dan membiarkan anak bermain di pusat membeli-belah tanpa jagaan sehingga menyebabkan kematian.

“Kita nak fokus kepada ibu bapa yang cuai, sebab bukannya kita nak menghukum mereka tapi kita nak mendidik ibu bapa berkenaan yang mereka patut lebih bertanggungjawab.

“Tidak boleh cuai terhadap anak mereka,” katanya kepada The Malaysian Insider selepas taklimat media di Institut Sosial Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur hari ini. Read more

Child Act amendments to comply with global rights convention, ministry says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — The proposed amendments to the Child Act 2001 are to observe the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC) that Malaysia signed in 1995, according to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.

Policy Division Secretary Dr Waitchalla V Suppiah said the Child Act (Amendment) Bill 2015, which was tabled during the last Parliamentary sitting, would see more child participation in the ministry’s policy making, punishments that focus more on community service, and the reduction of institutionalisation of minors.

“Best interest of the child is already incorporated.  Survivability as well as development is also incorporated. So if you look at all the principles within the CRC, it is all incorporated within our proposed amendments,” she told reporters here at the Social Institute of Malaysia.

“That is one of the reasons why we are amending the act, to take into account the CRC.”

The existing Act was criticised by civil society for lacking in compliance to the CRC especially last year, which marked twenty years of Malaysia being a signatory. Read more

Break the silence, to put an end to violence against children — UNICEF Malaysia

Source: The Malay Mail Online

child abuse

Free Malaysia Today stock pic

JULY 6 — UNICEF Malaysia is deeply concerned over the recent case of severe child abuse that has been highlighted in the media over the past week. More so, because we know this is not an isolated case. According to data available from the Department of Social Welfare, an average of nine children suffered abuse in Malaysia every day in 2011. And that figure applies only to reported cases. Many more children suffer abuse and neglect in silence and behind closed doors.

To best protect children from harm, action is needed before the harm ever takes place. That means fostering, creating and building an environment that protects and upholds their rights to be cared for and to feel safe, so as to prevent cases of abuse from ever occurring. Read more

Group wants all forms of child exploitation an offence

Source: The Star Online

Perverted: The Penal Code has provisions to prosecute those who possessed or promoted child pornography but not those simply viewing it.

Perverted: The Penal Code has provisions to prosecute those who possessed or promoted child pornography but not those simply viewing it.

KUALA LUMPUR: While those caught having or promoting pornography, including child pornography, can be charged in court, those who view these streamed online get away scot free.

President of Voice of Children Sharmila Sekaran pointed out that the Penal Code had provisions to prosecute those who possessed or promoted child pornography, not for simply viewing it.

“If I view something on a site but don’t download it, I’m not going to be caught for porn possession,” she said.

Sharmila admitted that the pervert, if discovered, might spark heated discussions in the media but it would be “difficult to proffer a charge in court”.

This is one of the “technical” loopholes in the current Child Act that Sharmila is fighting to address. Read more