A TASK force aimed at tackling the issue of baby dumping in Selangor will soon be formed by the state government.
State health, welfare, women empowerment and family committee will form the task force with related parties, including government departments, non-governmental organisations and activists.
It will focus on finding both short and long-term solutions to the issue of baby dumping.
According to police records, there have been 12 reported cases of baby dumping last year and eight between January and August this year.
From the eight cases this year, three babies were found in Gombak, and one each in Petaling Jaya, North Klang, Shah Alam, Kajang and Kuala Langat.
“This issue of baby dumping is getting worse. Previously we used to see reports in the newspaper about babies left in dumpsters, in the toilet or by the road.
“Now, the babies are killed, ” said committee chairman Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud during a roundtable discussion with representatives from government departments NGOs at the state secretariat.
“As Selangor recorded the highest number of cases for baby dumping nationwide, we need to focus on the issue to save lives and reduce the number of babies being dumped, ” she said.
Dr Siti Mariah added that this was not an issue that could be handled by any one party or individual, as such the task would be shared by several parties.
Among the suggestions was to raise awareness among children as young as 11 as data showed that they were already sexually active.
“We also have to re-look current policies. For example, under Islamic law, girls who have a baby out of wedlock can be charged in court.
“Is this a solution to our problem? We need to question the policy because it all falls on the girl, and if she comes forward, she will be punished and brought to court, ” she said.
It is also a social taboo where parents of the girl would disown her or send her elsewhere for the duration of the pregnancy and delivery.
Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh, who was former deputy women, family and community development minister, was also present at the roundtable meeting.
“Selangor recorded the highest number of baby dumping cases and out of all the babies dumped, 65% died and only 35% survived so our focus is to save more lives, ” she said.
Yeoh added that awareness programmes were organised in the past, including putting up information on baby dumping at doors of toilet cubicles along the North-South Expressway.
This is because babies are mostly dumped in toilets. Other places babies are found are residential areas and dumpsites.
Yeoh suggested that the Selangor government collect detailed data
of places where babies were dumped to identify the community living nearby.
“If an area comprises mostly Myanmar people, for example, then brochures should be in the mother tongue of this community, ” she said, adding that the government had also worked with cinemas to show a short clip on the matter to raise awareness.
She called on the state government to also work with sanitary pad manufacturers and hoped sex education would start for children as young as 12.
Yeoh also urged the child adoption process at the Welfare Department (JKM) to be more straightforward.
Currently, there are over 1,000 parents who have registered and are waiting to adopt a baby but there is a shortage of babies at JKM, said Yeoh.
Meanwhile, a survey by the Selangor Women’s Empowerment Institute (IWB) found 84.8% of respondents said that sex education was vital to reduce baby dumping and unwanted pregnancies.
IWB chief executive Siti Kamariah said this showed that many people were aware of the importance of sex education ad wanted their children to be taught.
“In the survey we also found that 98.2% said that the mother, who is a child, was solely responsible, ” she said and urged society to change this perception.
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