By PAUL CHOO
KUALA LUMPUR: Private medical practitioners, teachers and caregivers will be required to report any wrongdoings against children under proposed amendments to the Child Act 2001 to be tabled in Parliament soon.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the move was aimed at curbing abuse and violence against children.
At present, only public medical practitioners and caretakers are mandated to report child abuse cases.
Speaking to reporters after attending the 53rd World Children’s Day celebration at KLCC yesterday, Shahrizat said there was an urgent need to focus on preventing child abuse.
“From 2004 to 2006, abuse cases have risen by more than 300, which encompass physical, sexual, emotional, incest and unwanted baby cases.
“These alarming statistics still do not include cases of children who have been killed,” she said.
She added that the “culture” of abuse that some people deem to be acceptable should be changed.
Shahrizat said the Government had drafted a Child Protection Policy as a guideline to be followed by all organisations dealing with children, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and even welfare organisations.
The policy includes abuse prevention programmes, response and reports on abuse and communication guidelines with children.
The celebration was opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, who reminded parents to be mindful of their children at all times and show them the care they needed.
She asked participants to observe a moment of silence in memory of the tragic deaths of Nurin Jazlin Jazimin, Ooi Ying Ying and Preeshena Varshiny.
More than 1,000 children attended the colourful event at the KLCC ballroom, which was filled with toys, racing car arcade games, balloons and clowns.
The highlight, however, was the awarding of the Hang Tuah medal to 11-year-old Muhammad Zulfahmi Zuraidi for saving his siblings during a house fire last year.
Later at Bakti’s Deepa-Raya luncheon for the less fortunate at a hotel in Subang Jaya, Jeanne said foundations, NGOs and people in general should come forward and show their love to the less fortunate instead of just donating money,
“Spend time with them. Shower them with love. Do not just give monetary contributions,” she said.
Bakti is the Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
Among those also present from Bakti were Datin Seri Wendy Ong and Toh Puan Dr Aishah Ong.
- Star Online