Malaysia’s Amber alert in the works

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 15 Sep 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: The entire nation will be mobilised through the Child Helpline alert system for cases involving a child who has gone missing or has been kidnapped, where speed is of the essence.

Information via television and electronic messages at key locations will be part of the alert system to grab the attention of the public.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said discussions with the police and Immigration Department on creating the alert system would begin after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration, adding that currently, such reports are handled by Talian Nur 15999.

The alert system -- modelled after the United States’ Amber alert -- was first mooted two years ago, after the broken body of sexually assaulted and murdered eight-year-old Nurin Jazlin Jazimin was found in a gym bag.

Shahrizat told a press conference on Tuesday that the Child Helpline alert system was one of the immediate actions to be implemented after the Cabinet approved the National Child Policy and its Action Plan as well as the National Child Protection Policy and its Action Plan on July 29.

While the former touches on a child’s need for survival, protection, development and participation that enables them to achieve a holistic development in a conducive environment, the latter ensures every child receives protection from neglect, abuse, violence and exploitation.

“All our institutions and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) that receive grants from the ministry are required to create a policy to protect their children based on the template in the Child Protection Policy,” Shahrizat said.

Among others, the template focuses on protocol for the screening of the employees hired and coming up with a process to manage allegations of abuse.

She said that children aged 18 and below made up 39.2% or 11.1 million of the total Malaysian population of 28.3 million, adding police statistics showed that physical abuse, molestation and rape continued to increase each year from 2,236 in 2005 to 5,744 last year.

For the first seven months this year, 2,193 cases have been reported, she said.

Last year, 982 children were missing and out of the number, 500 are still missing this year, she added.

Related Stories: Duo held in Nurin case sue cops Probe into Nurin link Nurin’s dad seeks ruling in suit against cops Cops to keep Nurin and Sharlinie cases open Nurin Jazlin's father sues cops, govt (updated) Sharlinie may look different now, say cops DNA tests in Nurin case Missing child alert system in place Two held to help in Nurin murder probe

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