Taking children's issues to the polls this Sunday
3 May 2013 - With the upcoming general elections on 5 May 2013, child-rights organisations in the country have undertaken a number of initiatives to put children's issues on the agenda of candidates and their parties.
Children make up 34% of Malaysia's population.(Department of Statistics Malaysia (2011): Population distribution and basic demographic characteristics: Population and housing census 2010)Their needs and issues are critical to the country's robust development.
The Child Rights Coalition of Malaysia has urged voters to raise issues relating to children with candidates. They have highlighted three key issues. The first, birth registration and the difficulties that some children face in obtaining birth certificates. Suggesting voters ask candidates what they propose to do to solve the issue of children without birth certificates. The second issue raised by the Coalition are the difficulties faced by many children in accessing education, especially children living in poverty, children from indigenous families and children with disabilities. They've suggested voters ask candidates what steps they would take to ensure education for all children in Malaysia. Finally, the Coalition also highlighted the rising number of cases of violence against children over the past three years and urged people to ask their candidates what they will do to make their communities safe for their children.
Other initiatives by child focused organizations have included:
§ Voice of the Children, a member of the Child Rights Coalition of Malaysia, facilitated a social media initiative encouraging children and young people to raise and discuss issues that matter to them via Facebook and Twitter.
§ The Women's Development and Research Centre of Penang supported and advocated for enhanced childcare based on two key documents -- the Childcare Policy and Action Plan adopted by the state government of Penang, as well as the Children's Status Report produced by the Child Rights Coalition Malaysia.
§ The Asian Institute for Early Child Care and Education (AIECCE) raised issues experienced by ethnic Indian children living in poverty with selected political candidates.
§ A petition by the children of Rumah Ozanam in Petaling Jaya is calling for free public transportation, free medical costs, free computer lessons and free library memberships for children from under-privileged backgrounds.