another special someone on her birthday
If the IGP Tan Sri Musa Hasan, Dato Shahrizat and Dato Nazri was wronged and labeled as “bodoh” by some commentators in Nuraina Samad’s blog here, it is perhaps due to their poor timing and insensitive remarks. Perhaps it is out of sympathy and anger, knowing the couple had suffered enough for their lackadaisical attitude. I am not about to echo the IGP and Minister and be their apologist. However, fact is fact and they are right.
Having undergone a legal battle involving the Child Protection Act, I am quite aware the existence of such law. There is such law to protect children from negligent and abusive parents. Negligent and abusive parents exist and are quite prevalent in this country!
I am not unsympathetic but fact is fact. In the case of Nurin Jazlin, the parents were partly to blame to allow her to roam the night market by herself unaccompanied and unmonitored. What more with a child sex molester widely known to be roaming the area. The lapse in attention by Jazimin Abdul Jalil and his wife, Norazian Bistaman lead to the death of their 8-year old daughter. Some parents do take things for granted and they should be made aware of such danger.
It is unfair for many parties to lay the responsibility on the police when some parents have shirked from their responsibility to take the necessary precaution. In a city of few million people, finding a lost 8-year old is almost like finding a rusted needle in a pile of haystack. What more with piling cases and insufficient resources. The police can be seek to help but the first party of responsibility lies with the parents.
Assuming there is no politics in play, the statement by the IGP and Ministers should be taken factually. It’s most unlikely Nurin Jazlin's parents will be charged. Perhaps, it is necessary to be brutally honest to make the public more aware that parental negligence is an offense under the Child Protection Act. Negligent and also abusive parents pose danger to children and it goes beyond just their physical, emotional and psychological well being but even death. The impact of abusive parents is more vicious as per the maxim "abuse children grow up to be abusive parents".
The Child Protection Act covers for parental responsibility to provide for food, clothing, and schools. It includes monitoring, guiding and supervising children’s physical, educational, emotional and spiritual development. It is not easily enforceble for the law to cover for poor parenting skill, but there is sufficient provision for parental apathy towards their responsibility.
Based on the observations of both my teacher-parents, neglected children tend to be playful, lack disciplien and as a result do poorly in school. Common indication of negligent or poor parenting are children allowed to roam free out of their home and their play activity left uncurtailed. The unsupervised and unmonitored freedom given to children is the root cause that later lead to other adolescence problems like indiscipline, gangsterism, drugs, sexual promiscuity, and others.
Surmise to say, parental neglect is the root cause and contributing factor of social ill amongst youth. Despite the affluence of society of today, the problems of parental neglect, that is assumed as common in the lower economic class, are now common occurrence amongst higher end of society.
Is the Child Protection Act of 2001 effective? Perhaps its worth sharing the experiance of my own battle in the courts to save few children from abusive parent and step parent few years ago. Our attempt to save the children had the only option to seek their removal from the abusive parent. Alas it was denied because of inadequate law.
The law only give living parent the locus standi for guardianship. There is no or too stringent provisions and process to remove the parental right of negligent and abusive parents and to award child custody to other family members. What hope is there to safe the children when the court allowed for the children to live under the same roof with the abusive parents? What hope to protect children when they couldn't distinguish between capital punishment and child abuse? Although there are avenues under syariah law, indifference was another insurmountable barrier we faced.
Since the incident, the physical abuse has lessen. However, there is no guarantee that their suffering has reduced. It merely changed from physical abuse to emotional and psychological abuse and from abuse to neglect. With the parent more aware of their rights, the burden of proof on the Welfare Department is heavier should the abuse occur again.
It was a frustating situation. Till today, I keep wondering whether the Ministry of Welfare, Family Development and Women Affair has the necessary steps to make it difficult to remove parental right of negligent and abusive parents. Is it sufficient to merely hope the abusive parents volunteer to attend counselling? Is there sufficient resources to organise such counselling session? Is the Welfare Department's far in-between surprise checks sufficients to monitor the children's welfare and their education? With limited budget allocation available for Welfare Department, is there sufficient capacity for them?
Family development is nucleus for human development. Has the era of “Bapa Pembangunan Modal Insan” evolve into any significant progress in this area? I have always had reservation of the human resource development strategy in the RMK9, which is merely sloganised education development. One can't expect the strategy to look at family development as important. The same vicious circle of negligence and abuse will only repeat itself.
My fatihah and prayers to Allahyarhamah Nur Jazlin and all the victimised children of negligent and abusive parents.