Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN
CONDUCIVE weather is among the reasons youths prefer to lepak (hang around) at night, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. She said cramped and overcrowded homes were also reasons given for spending more time outside.
“The weather in Iceland is much colder so youths there would rather stay indoors at night compared to Malaysia where the weather is more conducive which makes it more comfortable for youths to be out at night,” she said when replying a supplementary question by Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (PAS-Rantau Panjang) during Minister’s Question Time in Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Earlier, Dr Wan Azizah who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, informed lawmakers that the government has no immediate plans to impose a night curfew on children below 18.
“After studying the matter, the government is of the view that imposing a night curfew is not appropriate at the present moment owing to several factors,” she said in reply to a question by Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew (PH-Wangsa Maju).
Among the reasons, she said, was that parents worked at night and were not home to supervise their children.
“There are also children who have tuition, religious classes and sports activities which require them to be out at night.
“This includes youth above 15 years old who work to support the family as permitted under the International Labour Organisation,” she added.
Dr Wan Azizah said although Iceland was a good example where night curfews had succeeded in curbing smoking and alcohol consumption among its youths, it was self-regulatory and supported by other incentives and long-term measures.
“The difference between the two nations are drastic.
“Malaysia has 9.4 million youths compared to Iceland which has only 50,000,” she said, adding that the government was considering launching pilot projects on night curfews at high-risk hotspots.
She said this includes starting drama and self-defence classes for youths in Desa Rejang, Setapak.