Statement by Dr Rashed Mustafa Sarwar on Review of Child Act
Representative to Malaysia and Special Representative to Brunei Darussalam
UNICEF supports the efforts of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to review Malaysia’s Child Act 2001 (Act 611).
By embarking on this multi-stakeholder consultative review of the Child Act, Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun has demonstrated leadership and commitment in strengthening the child protection system together with partners in civil society, activists, academia, and experts in Malaysia. UNICEF will be working with the Office of the Children’s Commissioner in providing technical assistance to the Ministry to support the review of the Child Act.
While the Child Act has undergone a number of revisions since it was first introduced, it is yet to be substantially reviewed or overhauled to include modern trends, approaches, and new evidence in the field of child protection. New approaches include placing greater importance on prevention and early intervention services to children and their families, a greater emphasis on family strengthening, and focussing on prevention, diversion, and community-based programmes for children in conflict with the law.
A comprehensive review of the Child Act will provide a more solid foundation for the Government’s programmes and services to prevent and respond to all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation of children, and to improve the rehabilitation and reintegration of children in conflict with the law. Reviewing the Child Act is also an opportunity to bring it closer in alignment with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In line with UNICEF’s 75th Anniversary celebration this year, we are taking the opportunity to reimagine child protection in Malaysia.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.