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Missing children: All parties must find themselves first


(Updated )

When will the last case of missing and brutally murdered children be? What are the measures taken by the government, society and parents to curb these cases? The recent murder of a girl whose half-naked body was found in a pond is  not the first case of its kind but will it be the last?

How many of us are aware of missing children’s statistics in Malaysia?

Let me share with you the statistics for the past six years. Back in 2004, there were 2,405 children missing and 1,803 for the next year. Then we have 1,485 children who went missing in 2006 and 759 in 2007 (from January to July). From January 2008 to Nov8, 2009, there were 4,968 cases and 1,859 are still missing.

 

The rate has indeed dropped, probably because the police force are putting in a lot of effort in curbing the issue or because parents have started to ‘tighten the security level’ to ensure the safety of their children or both. As I was searching for the latest missing children statistics nationwide, I found a legislation related to missing children on the Interpol website .

It mentioned the categories of missing children and national legislation which and added: ‘There is no specific law in Malaysia that governs the reporting and handling of cases of missing children. However, the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) make enquiries on missing persons under section 3 and 20 of the Police Act’.

I was shocked to read this. Does that mean that there is no specific task force assigned to solve the thousands of missing children’s cases here?

 

The local media has reported that child trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation has become a multimillion-ringgit trade in Malaysia fueled not only by international but also domestic demand as well. From the ‘marketing’ perspective, we can understand that when there is demand, there is supply and that reflects on the missing children nationwide. Are we living in a civilised country or we are living in a concrete jungle?

How are we going to achieve the vision 2020? What about being a developed nation in the next few years? What is the action taken by the parents, society and government? Or are we going to just blame the government again?

 

Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation Vice-chairperson Lee Lam Thye blamed the availability of pornographic materials for the increase in gruesome child murders. It is true as it is like giving an idea to a potentially insane person.  But this is just one of the causes and the authorities have been putting their efforts in clearing their ‘nests’ for some years already.

All parties involved have to work together in curbing the gruesome situation in the country. First, parents need to make up their mind before giving birth as to whether they are ready to take the commitment of being a responsible parent. It is not so easy as just the nine seconds of pleasure. I have seen many irresponsible parents out there giving many opportunities to the predators.

A very common example would be leaving their children to run around in the supermarket or letting the little children go to night market alone or with their younger siblings. Parents take thing for granted in many situations and later blame others for their own carelessness when things go wrong. Where is their conscience? Or does the saying ‘It will not happen to me’ apply all the time?

Secondly, is this a selfish society that care less of others’ welfare? When we live among people who ‘see but don’t see’, we are always on the disadvantaged side. Are we a caring society or merely a busybody? If we see irresponsible acts of parents on the street or in the supermarket, do we tolerate them because it is none of our business or will we start handling it differently from now onwards?

Third, the police force needs to reconsider the need of forming a special task force for missing children and not to give one hundred percent attention to arresting mere prostitutes unless they are involved in the these cases. There is indeed a need to get qualified, ethical professionals to be part of this task force in order to curb this serious issue. This is the part where both government and the opposition should get together and do something that makes Malaysia a better place to stay.

For how long have we competed for personal benefits? What about the rakyat? Is this all we deserve? Living in fear and risking the life of the innocents?

Finally, it is the role of the media to powerfully educate society on respect for others. How many of us know and realise that every human being is somebody’s child or somebody’s sister or somebody’s future parent? No point waiting for the education ministry to confirm the teaching of security/safety measures in schools.

The media can start to educate the society on the right mentality and attitude. If  - and if all - these parties come together and work hand-in-hand, won’t we think there is a bigger hope and chance of solving many more missing children cases than how it used to be done? Or does anyone else have a better idea on how to curb this serious situation?

One good way to share our ideas on issues like this is to write to the media and hope they will get published. Usually, when there is an invitation to go to a certain venue to share our views, the timing of the event is always unfavourable to most of us as it is always during most people’s working hours.   

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