The Launch of “Child Protection System in Malaysia”
PUTRAJAYA, 5 March 2014 – The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (MWFCD) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today launched two reports, comprising comprehensive assessments of the child protection and juvenile justice systems in Malaysia.
The two reports namely “Child Protection System in Malaysia – An Analysis of the System for Prevention and Response to Abuse, Violence and Exploitation against Children” and “The Malaysian Juvenile Justice System – A Study of Mechanisms for Handling Children in Conflict with the Law” were based on studies that assessed the child and family welfare system as well as the juvenile justice system in Malaysia. Both reports, commissioned by the MWFCD in collaboration with UNICEF were launched by the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, YB Dato’ Sri Rohani Abdul Karim. Also present at the function is Ms. Wivina Belmonte, the UNICEF Representative to Malaysia.
Developing a Nation that is Safe for Every Child
In Malaysia, children make up to almost 9.9 million or one third of the country’s population. Therefore, ensuring a comprehensive Child Protection System and a fair and just Juvenile Justice System for the Malaysian children is an important task for MWFCD. The government is committed towards building a comprehensive child protection system with specific emphasis on prevention, capacity building for child protection frontline workers as well as provision of secondary and tertiary responsive services to children at risk or suffering from maltreatment.
Malaysia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1995. Malaysia has promised the international community that it will respect, protect and promote the rights of children through its voluntary commitment to uphold the rights set out in the CRC. Since then, much has been achieved in the protection and promotion of children’s rights.
In an effort to increase awareness and commitment of various parties, the government formulated 2 policies related to children, namely the National Policy on Children and the National Child Protection Policy and their respective Plans of Action in 2009. The former highlights the rights of children to survival, protection, participation and the importance of an environment which is conducive for the children’s holistic development. It focuses on enhancing the commitment and social responsibilities of all parties by putting the child’s interest first above all aspects. While, the latter policy ensures that children are protected from all forms of neglect, abuse, violence and exploitation.
A high-level, inter-agency consultative council called The National Advisory and Consultative Council for Children was established on 1 September 2001. The council will continue to play its role as an advisory committee with the children’s well-being and development as its national focal point. The Council is responsible to give advice to the government on matters relating to policy direction and programmes for children in line with the CRC. The membership of this council also includes 2 children from the National Child Representative Council.
Juvenile Justice System
The establishment of the Court for Children under the Child Act 2001, reflects the government’s acknowledgement that children, by virtue of their physical, mental and emotional immaturity, have unique needs compared to adults, whether they are tried as delinquent or deprived juveniles who are child offenders or victims of criminal activity respectively. This court is granted jurisdiction of civil and criminal procedure for the purposes of both crime prevention and restoration.
Malaysia also recognises that children need to have a separate and distinct approach when they come into conflict with the law. It must be emphasised that it is importance to prevent juveniles from even coming into conflict with the law in the first place as well as expecting complete rehabilitation by the time they leave the juvenile justice system.
Hence, the primary aim of these reports are to enhance understanding and knowledge of the strategies, capacity development and resourcing of child protection systems and juvenile justice system in Malaysia. Therefore, the reports will serve as references to the stakeholders in strengthening the protective environment around children so that they are protected against all forms of violence, maltreatment, exploitation and the best interest being safeguarded in the justice system in Malaysia.
For further information, please contact:
Indra Kumari Nadchatram,
+6012 292 6872
+6019 658 5160