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By Ashley Sim
KUCHING, Dec 29: Women, Family, and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri says the federal cabinet has basically agreed to the Malaysian Human Rights Commission’s (Suhakam) recommendation to establish a special department to oversee the welfare of Malaysian children.
Nancy told reporters this today when met during her visit to the MamaCare Mini Spa at the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) Kuching here.
“During the Cabinet meeting, I expressed my thoughts on the matter, which had already been agreed upon in principle.
“Therefore, it is our responsibility at the ministry to organise and reassess whether it will become an agency,” she said.
She continued by stating that her ministry already has a section for children under the Department of Social Welfare (JKM), but that it may need improvement.
“And thus, our officers are in the process of looking at this matter so that it is specifically for children only and we can focus on that,” she added.
In addition, there are a number of institutions under the ministry that assist in the care and protection of abused children, Nancy stated, in light of the growing number of cases of child abuse in the country.
“However, the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of abused children does not fall solely on the shoulders of the ministry; the community as a whole must help.
“It is concerning that cases like this have become so prevalent, and it’s not good for us.
“For this reason, I believe we need a programme to empower the community, and I’ve spoken with ministry officials about looking at this from the perspective of child care as a whole,” she explained.
Nancy who is also Santubong MP said discussions were held with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to identify areas where children’s issues could be improved.
“The issue involving children, not just abuse, is widespread, and as a minister, I believe immediate action is required to address the issue.
“We have much to do, including determining how to occupy the time of the children in our care, following our discussion.
“As a minister, I believe we require prompt action and a very strong law,” Nancy remarked.
Suhakam commissioner Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal yesterday stated that a special department for children’s needs to be set up as there are no specific institutions to focus on the young.
Noor Aziah said the country had 9.7 million children and Social Welfare Department officers may not be able to care for all. — DayakDaily