Wednesday September 19, 2007
PETALING JAYA: As the anguish continues for Nurin Jazlin’s parents Jazimin Abdul Jalil and Norazian Bistaman, there are at least 16 other parents out there anxiously awaiting news of their missing children.
Nurin is among the 17 children under the age of nine – 10 boys and seven girls – on the police’s list of missing persons.
These children seem to have “vanished” between January and July this year, and have yet to be found. Some left their homes, and like Nurin, never returned. Others were lured away by friends.
They are among the 34 cases (under nine years old) reported to the police until July. Sixteen of the cases involve boys and 18 others are girls. Police have so far found six boys and 11 girls.
“There were other reasons as well, such as the children running away because they were not interested in studying anymore and wanted freedom.
“Many also cited being scolded by their parents and they felt their parents did not understand them, or they felt their parents did not care for them,” said CID director Commissioner Datuk Christopher Wan Soo Kee.
“But the main reason for the missing children was family dispute. Ten cases involved one parent taking away the child without informing the other after the couple divorced,” he said.
Wanita MCA chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen said society must accept that times have changed.
“We must re-look the value of trust. Urbanisation and progress bring development but also complicate society. We have all kinds of strangers around us and our children.
“The onus is on us, as parents, not to allow our children go out by themselves, even if it is to the grocery store. It is unfortunate, but we must also teach our children not to help strangers because the young ones are too innocent to differentiate between a ruse and a genuine cry for help,” said Dr Ng.
The Deputy Finance Minister said as harsh as it sounded, parents must also teach their children not to be trusting of strangers, teachers and even relatives.
“It has been proven that children have been terribly hurt by those closest to them. The bad person is not confined to the stranger on the street,” said Dr Ng.
She urged society to be caring enough to look out for all children.
“If you happen to come across a child in need, or one looking terrified as she is being held tightly by an adult, do not turn a blind eye, ask the child if he needs your help,” said Dr Ng.
Child psychologist and Suhakam commissioner Dr Chiam Heng Keng said adults could not expect children to have the ability to fend for themselves, or differentiate a “good” person from a “bad” one.
“Children below 10 are not mature enough to think rationally. In many advanced countries, the law forbids these children to be left alone at home or venture out on their own,” she said.
- The Star