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Putting a stop to baby dumping

Stop pornography

“Youth today can easily have access to such material online, even through their mobile phones.”

Federal CID director Comm Datuk Seri Bakri Zinin, on the link between pornography and baby dumping. He said widespread access to porn and weakened family ties have caused an increase in cases since 2005, which numbered 472 as of August 2010. He said more than half the babies in these cases were found dead.

Women’s Aid Organisation executive director Ivy Josiah disagreed with Bakri, saying there was no proven correlation. Rather, the problem was more that women were unable to get their male partners to use contraceptives. (Source: Porn a major reason behind baby dumping, say cops, The Star, 17 Aug 2010)

Stop couples from riding the same vehicle together

“… we want to prevent [incidences]. It’s better [to prevent such incidences] before such things as baby dumping occur.”

“… it’s not that they are not allowed completely to be on motorcycles together. If there are things to attend to, then there’s nothing wrong.”

“If it’s just for dinner, then there’s no problem. But if dinner’s over and they’re still together alone in a car, then that is not right.”

Mazlan Mohamad, director of the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Teachers’ Training Institute in Kuantan, Pahang, on a circular that prohibits trainee teachers of the opposite sex from riding together on motorbikes or in cars on or outside campus. He did not consider the measure extreme as students had not complained.

He also said teacher trainees frequently left the campus in pairs, and that this might affect the sensitivities of residents in the surrounding community who had a different level of “tolerance” for such things.

Trainees caught would not be punished, however, but given counseling, Mazlan added. (Source: College bars couples from riding motorbikes, cars, Malaysiakini, 17 Aug 2010)

Stop New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day celebrations

“Kita lihat banyak kes kelahiran berlaku pada bulan Ogos dan September, ini menunjukkan hubungan tersebut dilakukan pada sambutan Tahun Baru sebab itu kita lihat banyak kes pembuangan bayi berlaku dalam dua bulan ini.

“Dalam Islam sambutan Hari Kekasih tidak digalakkan tapi kalau nak buat kenduri itu tidak mengapa tetapi tidak hubungan terlarang.

“Jadi ini yang menjadi masalah apabila media seolah-olah menggalakkan sambutan Hari Kekasih dalam akhbar-akhbar tempatan.”

PAS Youth deputy chief Azman Shapawi, on New Year’s and Valentine’s Day celebrations as possible causes of baby dumping because these events allowed free mixing between the sexes. He said the topic would be discussed at a roundtable on solutions to illicit sex, rape and abandoned babies, which PAS Youth was organising on 22 Aug 2010. (Source: PAS dakwa sambutan Hari Kekasih, Tahun Baru antara punca buang bayi, The Malaysian Insider, 18 Aug 2010).

Criminalise baby dumping as an act of murder

“The Cabinet has decided that the Home Ministry through the police, investigate these cases as murder when a baby dies.”

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, on her ministry’s proposal to the cabinet. She said the cabinet agreed that drastic steps had to be taken to stop baby dumping.

Police will be asked to investigate, under Section 302 of the Penal Code, abandoned babies which have died. Under Section 302, the punishment for murder is death. Currently, baby dumping is investigated under other sections or under the Child Act for abandonment, concealment of birth by secret disposal of body, and infanticide, which stipulate jail terms and fines upon conviction.

Reactions to the cabinet decision have been negative, with some saying that capital punishment would not be a deterrent, and that sex education, counselling and support would be more effective. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said not all cases would be classified as murder, depending on police investigations. (Source: Murder charge for baby dumpers, The Star, 13 Aug 2010)

“Although it would take a long time and a lot of money to set up, a DNA bank remains the best solution to the baby-dumping menace.”

Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar, suggesting the usefulness of a DNA database to trace the parents of abandoned babies. He said many baby-dumping cases and other crimes remained unresolved because of a lack of information. (Source: CPO: DNA bank the answer to baby dumping, The Star, 22 Aug 2010)

Why not stop the stigma — provide baby care, sex education and safe haven laws — instead?

“Criminalising abandonment encourages someone, already in a terrible situation, to make a worse decision to hide a baby.

“The classical fiqh does not try to legislate against promiscuity post facto, knowing that any such activity would harm the baby. In order to save the baby’s life, there can be no criminalisation of abandonment.

“There must be a safe and anonymous way a parent can hand over a baby to the care of someone else.”

International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia principal research fellow Dr Eric Winkel, on the classical position in Islamic jurisprudence or fiqh, which emphasises saving a baby’s life. Winkel argued that a child was at greater risk if baby dumping was criminalised.

He added that the desire to punish promiscuity must be a separate matter from ensuring the baby’s safety. His article also highlighted a few “baby hatch” programmes which have saved thousands of lives in various countries, including conservative societies. Youths should also be taught to “develop their own filters” to make good decisions and navigate the modern world with all its sexually charged messages, Winkel said. (Source: Focus on saving the life of the foundling, New Straits Times, 18 Aug 2010)

“Government can consider enacting a law to allow a parent to confidentially surrender a baby to any hospital emergency room or any designated place. The parent should also not be arrested or prosecuted.”

Wanita Gerakan deputy chief Ng Siew Lai, urging the cabinet to consider ways to help unmarried mothers instead of punishing them. Ng noted that the US had such laws in response to the problem of unwanted pregnancies.

She also said the women’s wing disagreed with the cabinet’s decision that baby-dumping cases be investigated as murder. Instead, counselling, rehabilitation, and sex education were better solutions. (Source: Baby Dumping: Help and Not Punish the Mothers, Wanita Gerakan press statement, 19 Aug 2010)

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9 Responses to “Putting a stop to baby dumping”

  1. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Dear TNG,

    I can accept some form of sex education that consists of Biology and Morals. What Malaysia cannot do – is teach Muslim youth how to use and obtain contraceptives – because that is implied or tacit approval of pre-marital sex. In Islam there is no problem with teaching the Biology of Human Sexuality along with Islamic Moral Values. But you cannot teach Muslim youth about how to get and use the condom.

    That is why neither PAS nor Umno will allow for the teaching of how to use and obtain contraceptives.

    • farha says:

      this is no longer about contraceptives per se….this is about accepting and treating these mothers and their child without scorn and judgment…only then will the baby dumping stop. it’s not too much to ask, i think…especially when Muslims are enjoined to treat others with love and kindness . after all, the baby’s mother and father may have sinned, but the baby is sinless, right?

  2. Dr Syed Alwi says:

    Oh by the way,

    There are Catholic Schools in Singapore that refuse to teach their students how to use and obtain contraceptives – also for the same reason.

  3. I think people forget that ‘baby dumping’ is actually a natural maternal instinct — it’s called neonaticide.

    Neonaticide happens rarely in human beings, and even more rarely in the 21st Century, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t present. When a mother feels that the infant she gave birth to either a) has a slim chance of survival or b) may jeopardize her chances of survival, she will abandon or kill the child. Various human societies have practised systematic neonaticide at certain times in history.

    Young women who commit neonaticide in Malaysia frequently cite issues like shame or fear as being their primary motivator for discarding the baby. Shame tactics such as those employed by government campaigns or media discussion may very likely have the opposite effect.

  4. ChodeMcBlob says:

    The solution to baby dumping is the DECRIMINALISATION of sex out of wedlock.

    Embrace and engage first-time mothers (ala Juno). Support and encourage. For the love of God/Allah/Yahweh/Jehovah/ShangTi/WhateverLanguageYouSpeak, stop treating these women like criminals because they are not.

    Sex is beautiful, sex is natural, babies are made. Some people believe they need approval from a priest/imam/etc and a marriage certificate to have sex. Fine. But they have no right to impose that belief on others.

    Look, if you believe your religion/faith/belief-system says that sex out of wedlock is wrong, then fine… But to impose it on society is just wrong. And don’t get jealous [of] the people who do get laid before you because of your beliefs. It’s really pathetic and leads to anger and hate.

    BIRTH CONTROL needs to be made readily available. I’m not just talking condom dispensers in the men’s room… I’m talking about proper education about the Pill and other methods such as Depo Provera (3 monthly injections)and Implanon.

    At the end of the day, people will [have sex] whether you like it or not. It happens in America. It happens in Saudi Arabia. It happens in Malaysia.

    Some people just like to make a big deal out of it claiming that without religious approval for [having sex] (read: marriage) people should be criminalised. They then go on to ramble about the “moral breakdown of society” and blame all sorts of social problems on that.

    Well I’ve got news for you. The hippie movement didn’t destroy American society. Finland, Norway, and Japan don’t criminalise it and have stable societies.

    CRIMINALISING SEX without approval from some religious person is WRONG!!!

    And it’s not just legal, but social as well. The social stigma of having a relationship progress naturally to a point where a couple has sex must be eliminated.

    SUPPORT TEENAGE MOTHERS! Treat them with respect and kindness… Not scorn and hate.

  5. Bad Rabbit says:

    My God I’d hate to be a woman in Malaysia.

    If you’ve got a 16-year-old girl who’s pregnant in a society that will judge, castigate and stigmatise her for years, guess what’s going to happen?

    So I have an alternative proposal, castrate the man when you find out who it is and can confirm it with DNA testing. Let’s see how many unmarried pregnancies and baby dumping cases you get when it’s a man who has to suffer for once and not the girl.

  6. Hwa Shi-Hsia says:

    […] there’s a difference between murder and manslaughter/homicide/infanticide. I was shocked to see that over 70% of Star readers in an informal poll support capital punishment for baby dumping.

  7. farha says:

    Sex education, contraceptives…those will be great but not everyone can agree on it due to differing opinions based on their belief systems and values. In other words, baby dumping will stop only when we start showing compassion instead of condemning/judging the young people involved. Even that is too much to ask, apparently, judging from the spate of baby-dumping happening of late. But I’m still hopeful that someday things will change 🙂

  8. Hana Rie says:

    Strongly disagree with chode. You seem to approve sex before marriage. Why is Islam against it in the first place? Think about it from a wider perspective.

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