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Murugiah shocked by 11-, 12-year-old mothers

PETALING JAYA, 3 July 2009: Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk T Murugiah had a cultural shock when he visited the Cameron Highlands Hospital maternity ward recently and found Orang Asli mothers as young as 11 and 12 years old.

What worried him more was that these minors were ignorant that they needed to register the births of their babies.

He said these girls would soon return to their homes in the remote villages and the babies would remain without a birth certificate.

“This will pose a problem not only for the child and the parents, but also the government in later years,” he said.

Murugiah said he would bring up the issue of non-registration with the National Registration Department to see if it could appoint a special officer to handle such cases.

He said similar cases existed in Sabah and Sarawak, and solutions needed to be found to avoid problems later.

He added that the number of complaints received by the Public Complaints Bureau annually about children without birth certificates was high, and it was quite a task to solve some of these cases. — Bernama

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2 Responses to “Murugiah shocked by 11-, 12-year-old mothers”

  1. victor says:

    Isn’t this child rape???

  2. OrangRojak says:

    Victor – possibly not. It is possible to consent to the act of impregnation, although the law may presume that a legally-defined minor cannot. Regardless of how the law will view these cases, there’s usually a great variety of circumstances in which the act can occur. If the cases deserve the label ‘rape’, then it is to be hoped that the perpetrators can be caught and dealt with accordingly. If these young women (for if they are mothers they are certainly women) became mothers through nothing worse than recklessness, I don’t think labelling them as victims of rape would be in their best interest.

    What possibly worries me more is that Murugiah viewed a simple matter of bean counting more worrying than the young women’s truncated childhoods. Then again, perhaps the Orang Asli view these things differently. Anybody have any insight?

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