911 babies dumped since 2010

SINCE 2010, more than 900 newborn babies were abandoned in the country. Of that number, nearly 600 of them had died, says the Women, Family and Community Develop­ment Ministry.

Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh said 911 baby dumping cases were recorded from 2010 to August this year.

“From the 911, only 326 babies were found alive while 585 or 64% were not,” she said in reply to Kasthuri Pattoo (PH-Batu Kawan) during Question Time.

She revealed that Selangor had the highest number of baby dumping cases with 215 recorded, followed by Sabah (113), Johor (104) and Kuala Lumpur (83).

Kasthuri was asking about the number of baby dumping cases and what was the citizenship status of these babies and realistic measures to curb baby dumping.

Yeoh said babies who were rescued by the Welfare Department would be placed in a foster parent programme.

She said 80% of the babies were adopted through the programme.

The remaining 20% of the children usually remained with the Welfare Department as they might have health issues which prevented families from adopting them.

The Welfare Department head chairs a panel on child fostering and meetings are held four times a year.

“The ministry also helps to register the babies and arrange the documentation process, including citizenship application that can be done with the National Registration Department,” added Yeoh.

From 2012 to 2016, 79,302 cases of teenage pregnancies or an average of 4,000 cases a year were reported. The cases involved teenagers below the age of 18.

Based on a national health and morbidity survey by the Health Ministry last year, only 10% of the teenagers surveyed said they used contraceptives.

On intervention and prevention programmes, Yeoh said, among others, the ministry provided shelter for women and teenagers who become pregnant out of wedlock.

Campaigns are also held on social media to enable youths to get information and guidance without fear of revealing themselves to others.

“When we talked to non-governmental organisations, they told us that many questions (on sexual issues and teenage pregnancies) come from social media because through social media teenagers can ask questions or receive guidance without giving personal details.

“We will provide guidance through videoclips on social media.

“Through the videoclips, children can get guidance on healthy relationships and what constitutes physical touching that is safe or harmful, among others.

“The young generation, especially children, have electronic gadgets, and they can learn through the videoclips,” said Yeoh.

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