Situation in Malaysia
Malaysia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1995. A key outcome of this is the Child Act 2001 (Act 611) which forms part of the protective legal environment for children in the country.
Several initiatives have been introduced under this Act to safeguard children from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. For example, incest has been criminalised by the Penal Code (Act 574), while the Domestic Violence Act 1994 (Act 521) protects the child against violence within the family.
The principles of the CRC have also helped influence Malaysia’s ongoing efforts to reduce the number of children dying before the age of five, accelerate girls’ education, and increase access to education for children living in remote parts of the country. Primary school education was made compulsory in 2002 to ensure increased school enrolment and completion, while the Anti-Trafficking Act to protect women and children was introduced in 2007.
§ Poverty is reduced from nearly 50% of the population, to below 5%.
§ Annual number of under-five deaths has dropped from 18 deaths in every 1,000 live births in 1990 to 6 deaths in 2008, showing a marked reduction of 67%.
§ Over 90% of Malaysian children were immunised against tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and measles in 2008.
§ Almost all Malaysians use improved drinking water sources, with access at 100% for urban populations and 96% for rural populations in 2006.
§ More than 90% of Malaysians used improved sanitation facilities in 2006: 95% in urban areas and 93% in rural areas.
§ More than 95% of Malaysian children are enrolled in primary school.
While Malaysia has done well for her people, socio-economic disparities and geography continue to challenge the Government in its efforts to deliver healthcare and education to all Malaysians. Ethnic minorities in Sarawak and Sabah for example are situated in remote areas of Borneo’s rainforest.
Other threats include lack of birth documentation, particularly for some vulnerable children, violence, drug abuse and the feminisation of HIV.