We say that today’s children are our future leaders. What do we mean by this? Children today are the ones who are going to mould the world into its future. They are our future leaders, our future reformers and innovators.
On the 5th of October last Friday, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh, gave a speech during the BPAM expo launch on how the ministry can provide a better future for the children.
The ministry has provided with 4 initiatives, which are:
Child, not brides. Even though child marriages are decreasing throughout the years, but there are still many child marriages cases out there. Child marriages are violating girls’ rights, whether it’s in the form of their health, education or opportunity. Child marriage traps their lives in violence and sometimes, in a cycle of poverty. According to YB Hannah Yeoh, we cannot just register and hope that the numbers of child marriages will decrease over time. It will not change if we don’t have an intervention, and why are young children getting married? Firstly, it’s because of poverty and also due to no family planning. The legal age to get married is the age of 18 and we should start acting now before it is too late.
2. Compulsory education
YB Hannah Yeoh is looking into vocational packages that the government has and counteroffer at the point when these people come and ask, they can accept and take the child in and offer them an opportunity. The other thing is to push for compulsory education. In Malaysia, education isn’t compulsory after the age of 12. The compulsory age for compulsory education at this moment is 6 to 12. YB Hannah Yeoh stated that if we want to be a developed nation, we have to change this and start dealing with compulsory education and to force children to remain in school even for the interior part of Malaysia, such as the orang asli, aboriginal people.
Now, this is a controversial topic in Malaysia and we think that sex education is a must in Malaysia. People are now starting to agree more with this because teenage pregnancy is everywhere and we have to deal with this. Teenage pregnancy is also one of the reasons why child marriages occur. When they don’t know what or how to react, they send their child away.
4. Nanny services and educating parents
YB Hannah Yeoh is working with NGOs, saying that JKM and Ministry will be working out with info-graphics to educate parents and to introduce them to child safety to prevent child negligence. For example, leaving a child alone at home and so on. If you leave your kids alone at home, be sure to have a nanny to take care of your kids. Parents should keep an eye on their children at all time.
Child marriages are not happy ever after. They do not want to be labelled. They want to grow up happily and choose their own life. Stop all this and I think that we should start acting now before it’s too late. We want a better Malaysia, which is more educated, healthier, prosperous and equal. Let’s start today and make a change.
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