SEMENYIH: Bukit Aman will review procedures involved in investigating missing persons cases.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim (pic) said investigations involving missing persons are treated with the same priority as murder cases.
“Regardless of age, we give high priority to these cases,” he told reporters after Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s working visit to the General Operations Force Battalion 4 base yesterday.
It was reported that the National Urgent Response (Nur) Alert system was not activated in the case of Siti Masyitah Ibrahim who went missing on Jan 30 and was later found dead in Pekan, Pahang.
Pekan OCPD Supt Amran Sidek had reportedly said the Nur Alert was not triggered because her parents were undocumented foreigners.
The Nur Alert is a system that spreads information quickly to help trace missing children below 12 who could be victims of crime or abuse.
Noor Rashid said the Nur Alert was meant for any child in Malaysia regardless of race, religion or nationality.
“As long as it involves a child, the alert must be made,” he said, adding that in the case of Siti Masyitah, a suspect in his 20s, who was last seen with her, was arrested and confessed to hitting her on the head.
“The reason for the attack was because he was angry that he was insulted by the girl’s family. He confessed to hitting her on the head with a stick,” he said, adding that there was no truth to rumours that Siti Masyitah was a victim of organ harvesting.
Meanwhile, children activist Dr Hartini Zainudin said in a Facebook post that all children must be protected equally under Malaysian law.
“This is what happens when you’re undocumented. With no papers. I’m so frustrated right now and outraged.
“We didn’t trigger the Nur Alert because she was not a Malaysian child? No identification documents? Was there a photo, description, estimated weight, height, do we know where she was last seen, what she was wearing?
“We can issue a civil registration document of some sort? With basic data?” she said, adding that nothing would change unless the public stand up, speak out and demand a change.
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) Advocacy and Communications officer Tan Heang-Lee said it was discriminatory to deny children a life-saving protection service on the basis that they are undocumented.
“Information such as the child’s appearance and last known location should have been sufficient to activate the alert.
“Children who are undocumented face many barriers in accessing protection and justice.
“They may not report crimes committed against them because they fear being arrested or deported,” she said, adding that as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Malaysia has an obligation to ensure that children are not discriminated on the basis of nationality or ethnicity and that the best interest of the child is upheld in the administration of laws.