PETALING JAYA: Children’s rights groups have called on parents to explore other forms of discipline instead of resorting to corporal punishment.
“Discipline does not mean beating a child into obedience,” said social psychologist Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng.
“However, a slap on the wrist should not be considered abuse.”
Dr Chiam is the Malaysian representative to the Asean Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children.
She said parents should look into why a child is misbehaving to find a remedy, and if the misbehaviour continues, privileges (like Internet access or a favourite toy) can be withheld.
Suhakam commissioner James Nayagam cautioned that corporal punishment should only be used as an absolute last resort.
Although he finds local laws sufficient to protect children, he voiced his opposition to excessive force.
“When they become conditioned to pain, the punishment has no more meaning. And after the caning, what happens? It’s hard to draw a line and abuse might follow,” he said.
Dr M.M. Sreenivasan thinks it is high time Malaysian parents reflect on corporal punishment.
He believes that it is never right to hit a child and prefers to have the child understand right from wrong without resorting to physical punishment.
“We cannot blame the Swedish government for what has happened. But this incident can help us realise the need to review how we nurture our kids,” he said.
Dr Sreenivasan has 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
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