SITUATION OVERVIEW OF CHILDREN IN MALAYSIA
“The true measure of a nation is how well it attends to its children – their health, safety, and material security, their education and socialisation, and their sense of being loved, valued, and included in the families and societies into which they are born.” .
Malaysia is considered one of Asia’s most culturally diverse nations with its multi-ethnic, multicultural population comprising Malays, Chinese, Indians and more than 200 tribal indigenous ethnic groups. Some 28 million people live in this middle-income country, with seventy per cent concentrated in Peninsular Malaysia.
Since independence in 1957, Malaysia has embarked on a progressive path to improve the social and economic standing of the country and her people.
Universal primary education is almost achieved. The reductions in child and maternal mortality are exceptional and the levels are now similar to those of many developed countries. These improvements are attributable to a well developed primary health care system, including substantial investments in the reproductive health service, together with access to quality water, sanitation and nutrition.
While Malaysia’s progress since the 1970s has been remarkable, spatial differences however still exist between states reflecting different levels of development. Of particular concern are Sabah, Sarawak and the east coast states of Peninsular Malaysia.
With an estimated Gross National Income per capita of US$ 7,230 (RM 21,400) in 2009*, the continuous development of human capital remains a key strategy to ensure Malaysia’s competitive advantage both regionally and globally. Malaysia’s aspiration is to be a fully developed nation by the year 2020. Known as Vision 2020, this strategy, launched in 1991, describes a fully developed nation not only in economic terms but also politically, socially and spiritually.
* Source: The State of the World's Children 2011