Legal protective environment for children
A key outcome of Malaysia’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the Child Act 2001 (Act 611) which forms part of the protective legal environment for children in the country.
Several initiatives have been introduced under this Act to safeguard children from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. For example, incest has been criminalised by the Penal Code (Act 574), while the Domestic Violence Act 1994 (Act 521) protects the child against violence within the family.
The principles of the CRC have also helped influence Malaysia’s ongoing efforts to reduce the number of children dying before the age of five, accelerate girls’ education, and increase access to education for children living in remote parts of the country. Primary school education was made compulsory in 2002 to ensure increased school enrolment and completion.
The provisions for reporting and monitoring of progress for children have facilitated dialogue and engagement between the Government and the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Since the Government’s first Report to the Committee in end 2006, new developments for children have taken place. These include abolishing school fees for poor Malaysian children and an Anti-Trafficking Act to protect women and children.
Amongst others, these include liberty of the person (Article 5); prohibition of slavery and forced labour (Article 6); and rights in respect of education (Article 12).
In addition, the care, protection and rehabilitation of the child are governed by the Child Act 2001 [Act 611].