60 Years of Service for Children in Malaysia
UNICEF and partners acknowledge past milestones and reaffirm commitment to child rights
KUALA LUMPUR, 25 June 2014 – UNICEF Malaysia and its partners marked 6 decades of service for children in Malaysia today at a reception to commemorate the UN agency’s 60th anniversary in the country.
The reception was graced by the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Rohani binti Haji Abdul Karim and hosted by the UNICEF Representative to Malaysia, Ms. Wivina Belmonte. Also in attendance were; Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Yang Berhormat Senator Dato’ Sri Abdul Wahid bin Omar; Deputy Minister of Education, Yang Berhormat P. Kamalanathan and other dignitaries.
The Ministers were among 200 friends of UNICEF who gathered to commemorate the partnership, which included senior representatives from the private sector, civil society, youth leaders and children who have been part of UNICEF-led initiatives on disability, child protection and child participation.
The reception was made possible due to generous support from Sime Darby, a key partner in UNICEF’s corporate responsibility agenda and Les Copaque Production, the producers of Upin & Ipin, UNICEF’s National Ambassadors for children.
Partnerships make it possible
In her welcome address, Ms. Wivina Belmonte expressed her appreciation and gratitude on behalf of the agency, to the Government, the private sector, children and youth as well as civil society and the Malaysian public for their generous support towards ensuring the wellbeing of children in Malaysia and around the world.
“As Malaysia has developed and grown into an upper middle income country, our relationship and role here has mirrored that shift — from service delivery and basic child survival interventions in the early days, to knowledge sharing, capacity development, and strengthening systems to improve child wellbeing and development today -- going from reaching the many over the last six decades, to efforts at reaching all, now,” said Ms. Belmonte.
Working together for children in Malaysia
UNICEF and the Government of Malaysia first established their partnership in 1954, starting with the country’s child immunization programme. The partnership evolved over the years to incorporate other child wellbeing aspects, such as nutrition, healthcare for the underserved and promotion of breastfeeding. Today, UNICEF works on a range of policy issues, including; child poverty, child literacy, child protection, quality education, children with disabilities, and child wellbeing.
As part of its commitment to the protection and welfare of children, Malaysia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1995. A key outcome of Malaysia’s ratification of the CRC was the Child Act 2001, which forms part of the protective legal environment for children in the country. Several initiatives by UNICEF and its partners were introduced under this Act to safeguard children from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The principles of the CRC have also influenced and supported Malaysia’s efforts in reaching Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to children, including near universal primary education for every child, reduced child mortality rates and increased maternal health rates.
Giving back to children
In addition to initiatives for children within the country, Malaysia has become an important contributor to UNICEF efforts globally. Over the past few years, the Malaysian public has demonstrated their trust in UNICEF through donations and support for children affected by humanitarian crises around the world, such as the Haiti and Sichuan earthquakes in 2010 and 2013 respectively, as well as the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in end 2013.
“We are especially proud of the commitment and engagement UNICEF has built with the Malaysian public since 2008 – who have shown themselves to be extremely generous in supporting our work for children in Malaysia, and UNICEF’s work for children around the world. Malaysia has been acknowledged for its leadership in this regard, ranking 3rd out of more than 20 programme countries in which Malaysia raises funds for children,” added Ms. Belmonte.
“So tonight, as we honour our 60 years in Malaysia, and the legacy of that work here to date, we also mark this newest milestone, as we move forward with renewed commitment to ensure that the unfinished business remain our priority today, tomorrow and in the years ahead, as together we build a Malaysia fit for all its children.”
For further information, please contact:
Indra Kumari Nadchatram,
+6012 292 6872
+6019 658 5160