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Two new policies for child protection to be tabled soon

KANGAR, 28 March 2009: Two new policies are being legislated to safeguard the welfare of children and ensure protection from neglect, abuse, violence and exploitation.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said her Ministry was in the final state of preparing the National Child Action Policy and the National Child Protection Policy.

Speaking to reporters after attending a Perlis state-level safety programme, themed “Safe Child, Happy Family”, here today, she said both policies would be presented to the cabinet soon.

She said the policies, aimed to ensure that children would enjoy opportunities for holistic development in a conducive environment, was also to provide a guide for government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGO), private sector and individuals, on children’s rights.

Yen Yen said the ministry had already started improvements on the Child Act 2001, which included abolishing caning and incorporating community service.

Besides that, the act will be extended from protection to fostering, recovery, and participation, she said.

She expressed concern on issues threatening safety of children, among which included missing child cases which has increased alarmingly over the past few years.

She said based on records, between January and December last year, a total of 982 missing child cases were reported, of which, only 482 were found while 500 are still missing.

Statistics from the police showed that abuse and violence towards children has also increased, with the number of physical abuse and rape cases increasing to 5,744 compared with only 2,236 in 2005.

Yen Yen said the mass media, including television, heavily influenced children and because of that the ministry strongly encouraged television stations to broadcast programmes that will have a positive impact on the younger generation.

Meanwhile, Raja Muda of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail while officiating the programme said, the strength of a family depends on their ability to foster close relationship amongst themselves.

To produce more families with first class mentality, the parents must set a good example as well as become best friends to their children so that they would have a place to turn to when in distress, he said.

About 1,000 children and their parents were involved in the half-day programme organised by the Perlis government, Tuanku Syed Putra Foundation, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.

Also present at the event was the Raja Puan Muda of Perlis, Tuanku Hajah Lailatul Shahreen Akashah, who celebrated her birthday today by cutting a cake. — Bernama


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