MUAR: An average of 19 babies are born out of wedlock in the state daily, State Women, Family, Health and Community Committee chairman Dr Robia Kosai revealed.
She said annually a total of 7,000 babies were being born to unwed mothers in the state.
Dr Robiah added that most of the births were recorded in Johor Baru, followed by Batu Pahat and Kluang while Muar had the least amount of such births.
She said about 5,000 of the babies were Malays, 2,000 were Chinese but only 46 babies had been dumped or abandoned over the past three years.
Although the number of babies being dumped or abandoned over three years was relatively small, the number of babies delivered every year by unwed mothers was huge.
“These are recorded cases and we fear there could be other cases which are not recorded,” she said after attending the Muar Daerahku, Bersih Idamanku programme at Tanjung Ketapang recently.
Dr Robia said a recent baby trafficking case in Kuching, Sarawak, had prompted the state to be on the alert for similar rackets operating in Johor.
She said all village heads and community leaders should monitor every home in their area, including those inhabited by foreigners, to detect any such racket.
She said they should also give emphasis and monitor houses or hostels rented by female foreign workers, including Indonesian and Vietnamese girls.
She said because these girls resembled locals and and if they happened to dump their babies, the babies would look just like Malay or Chinese babies..
According to Dr Robia the Kuching case was shocking as the racket involved a family of a prominent businessman and she feared that baby trafficking could be rampant.
She said those who wanted to adopt babies could apply to the Welfare Department or through her office and she would liaise with a non-governmental organisation which handled the matter.
She said the organisation was engaged to look after unwanted babies and would charge foster parents a fee of about RM4,000 for an adoption.
She said the fee was for the cost of feeding and looking after the babies before they were adopted and urged those interested in adopting a baby to go through the proper channel.
“The adopted babies will be given a special certificate and the Welfare Department will also monitor their progress regularly,” she added.