Malaysia Child Act 2001
Child protection is a priority for the Government of Malaysia. The Malaysia Child Act 2001, a consolidation of three previous laws on issues relating to child protection and juvenile justice, namely the Juvenile Courts Act 1947, Women and Young Girls Protection Act 1973 and Child Protection Act 1991, is part of the protective legal environment for children.
Abuse, neglect, abandonment or exposing a child to physical and/or emotional injuries is punishable under this law. The Law also established the National Council for the Protection of Children which advises the Minister on child protection issues. The Council is responsible for the design of a management system to report cases of children in need of protection and to develop programs to educate the public on the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The Law also set up Child Protection Teams to coordinate locally based services to families and children in need of protection.
The challenge for UNICEF, in partnership with the Government, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and civil society, is to promote awareness of the Child Act especially in the context of the broader framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as to advocate for its effective enforcement and application.