UNICEF and EPU launch statistical profile on children in Malaysia
PUTRAJAYA, 11 December 2013 – UNICEF Malaysia and the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister's Department today launched a statistical profile on children in Malaysia entitled Profile of Children in Malaysia: Implementation of Children's Rights with Equity.
The publication was jointly launched by the Director General of EPU, Yang Berbahagia Datuk Dr. Rahamat Bivi Yusoff and Ms. Wivina Belmonte, UNICEF Representative in Malaysia.
The Malaysian children's statistical profile reflects the analysis of key child-related indicators to assess the implementation of children's rights in Malaysia and to identify existing inequalities within the country. The profile relies mostly on publicly available data and nationally representative surveys. The publication is structured around children's rights, related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and national priorities.
Y. Bhg. Datuk Dr. Rahamat Bivi Yusoff, Director General of the Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister's Department, recorded her appreciation to UNICEF Malaysia for taking the initiative in producing the statistical booklet and the efforts of all the relevant stakeholders involved in compiling the data for the publication. It was hoped that the booklet would be informative for all, particularly to address the needs of children and instigate strategic actions. As for EPU, this publication is timely and would be of enormous benefit in terms of information in the formulation of the 11th Malaysia Plan.
Ms. Wivina Belmonte commended the Government of Malaysia on its long-term commitment towards creating an enabling environment for every child to achieve their full potential.
"Malaysia has done much to ensure the rights of its children, with the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1995 and two of its Optional Protocols in 2012, the enactment of the Child Act in 2001, and a child-first approach to national planning that has resulted in many child-focused and child-centered programmes for children," said Ms. Belmonte.
"This publication serves to identify gaps that still exist at sub-national level: between states, between ethnic groups, and between boys and girls."
Advancing the rights of every child
For UNICEF, the concept of equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favouritism. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children's rights into action.
Equity is rooted in the principles of universality, non-discrimination, indivisibility and participation that underpin the CRC. The statistics in the profile launched today are evidence that Malaysia has made significant progress in child well-being and is on track to meet the targets of most of the MDGs, especially those related directly to children.
However, the report delves deeper to reveal gaps or inequities that still exist despite overall national level progress. These disparities cut across geography, gender and ethnicity, and require further analysis on how inequities can be reduced and removed.
One example of disparity is in child mortality. The overall sustained improvement in infant and under-five mortality rates are accompanied by persisting disparities among states and among population groups. Child nutrition improved significantly in the last decade; yet, improvement in East Malaysia has been slower than the rest of the country. Nationwide, school enrolment has been kept at sustained high levels but disparities between states remain.
"It is important to remind ourselves that every statistic represents the life, and challenges, of a child. Each statistic is also an urgent call to move forward with determination and address what needs to be done with national and state partners to ensure the well-being of every child in this country," said Ms. Belmonte.
For further information, please contact:
Indra Kumari Nadchatram,
UNICEF Media, Malaysia
(+6.03) 2095 9157
+6012 292 6872
UNICEF Media, Malaysia
(+6.03) 2095 9154 ext. 2236
+6019 658 5160