KUALA LUMPUR: The government has no immediate plans to impose a night curfew on children below 18, says Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah (pic).
"After studying the matter, the government is of the view that imposing a night curfew on youths below 18 is not appropriate at the present moment, owing to several factors," she said in Parliament in reply to a question by Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew (PH-Wangsa Maju).
Among the reasons, she said, was that some parents worked at night and were not home to supervise their children at night.
"There are also children who have tuition, religious classes and sports activities, which require them to be out of their homes at night.
"This includes youths above 15 who work to help (contribute to) the family income, as permitted under the International Labour Organisation," she added.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said although Iceland was a good example of night curfews having succeeded in curbing smoking and alcohol consumption among youth, the curfew there was self-regulatory and supported by other incentives and long-term measures.
"The differences between the two nations are drastic.
"Malaysia has 9.4 million youth compared with Iceland, which has only 50,000," she added.
She said conducive weather was among the reasons cited why Malaysian youth prefer to "lepak" (loiter) at night.
"What we found was that cramped and overcrowded homes are why youth will look for places for recreation.
"The weather in Iceland is much colder, so the youth there would rather stay indoors at night, compared with Malaysia, where the weather is more conducive, which makes it more comfortable for youth to be out of at night," she said when replying a supplementart question by Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (PAS-Rantau Panjang) during Minister's Question Time in Dewan Rakyat today (March 14).
At present, Dr Wan Azizah said the government was considering launching pilot projects, involving night curfews at high-risk hotspots.
She said the government was looking at starting drama and self-defence classes for youths in Desa Rejang, Setapak.