Children's Commission needs to be independent, says NGO


  • Letters
  • Thursday, 30 Nov 2023

WHILE the Child Rights and Innovation Betterment (CRIB) Foundation lauds the recent amendments to the Suhakam Act, it says the amendments fall short of what children in Malaysia require most.

It has called on the government to move the Child Commissioner’s office, into an independent body that is answerable directly to Parliament, which has the authority to advocate for policy changes by all enforcement agencies and local authorities.

Below is the full statement:

Child Rights and Innovation Betterment (CRIB) Foundation welcomes the recent amendments to the Suhakam Act, which strengthens the position of the Child Commissioner, and congratulates all parties involved in ensuring these amendments went through, as the amendments underscores the government's intentions to improve child protection and rights in Malaysia.

We, however, note that these amendments fall short of what Malaysian children need most - a meaningful Bill which gives Malaysia a children’s commission that is fully responsible for multi-ministerial cooperation on policies and programmes regarding upholding and protecting all aspects of children’s rights, which has the authority to make policy changes and the power to require transgressions to be remedied within a specified time frame.

We thus call on the government to continue to work towards moving the Child Commissioner's office (which continues to be parked under Suhakam) into an independent body, answerable directly to Parliament, which has the authority to advocate for policy changes by all enforcement agencies and local authorities, and the power to require meaningful remedies, within a specified time frame, for the children impacted.

We further call on the government to: Implement a cross-government strategy and outcomes framework to drive improvements for babies, children and young people.

Develop and implement a new approach to decision-making that places children’s needs, wishes and outcomes at its heart, involving children and young people every step of the way.

Invest more of our national wealth in improving the lives of babies, children and young people and spend strategically on early intervention and prevention.

CHILD Rights and Innovation Betterment (CRIB) Foundation

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