Speaker invites MPs to pray for all children, especially those in Gaza

KUALA LUMPUR: To mark World Children's Day on Monday (Nov 20), Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul invited MPs to pray for the protection of children, particularly those in Gaza.

"The citizens of the world are greatly affected by the Palestine-Israel conflict which is getting increasingly worrying.

"To date, more than 700,000 children in the Gaza strip have lost their homes, more than 4,600 have lost their lives and almost 9,000 have been injured.

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"Let us pray that all children, especially those in the Gaza Strip, are given protection from any form of oppression," he said just before the start of proceedings in Parliament.

Earlier, before MPs gathered in the august House, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said had a walkabout to view the exhibits at the Voices of Children event at the Parliament lobby.

She later told reporters the government was looking at amending the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) Act 1999 to provide online access for children to lodge reports of crimes against them.

Azalina said she hopes to table the Bill for its first reading during the current Dewan Rakyat meeting.

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Meanwhile, in his speech at the event, Johari said he was touched by being able to hold the celebrations in Parliament.

"It is a very touching moment for me to see how bright and capable our children are.

"I have eight children at home and I know how It feels," he said, adding that his 12 grandchildren have given him an abundance of joy at home.

He noted that Malaysia acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 1995, although with reservations.

The move, he said, helped recognise children as individuals with their own rights to grow, learn, play and develop with dignity.

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He urged MPs to request for more funds in the future for the benefit of children.

The event also saw the announcement of the winners of the Picture My Rights: A Shot at Life involving submissions of over 300 photos from children around the country.

The photos reflected children's right to be heard, to freedom, to a family, and to rest, play and friendships.

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