Hafidzi Razali examines local steps taken to stop baby dumping in the country.
Source: http://before-itstoolate.blogspot.com/ | Baby dumping in Malaysia
Another baby dumping furore in the news recently did little to surprise the socially-maligned Malaysians. Recent statistics prove that the heinous nature of baby dumping makes no difference in preventing this crime as the numbers keep increasing year by year. A saddening reality to note is that as a self-proclaimed Islamic country, baby dumping incidents mostly involve Malaysian Muslims. Islam is a religion that emphasises good moral values, kindness, sympathy and empathy among many others, hence it is a mismatch that this inhumane social problem mostly involves Muslims, especially with the embodiment of Islam in our laws and administration.
The pattern of baby dumping appears similar, if taken from the context of newspaper reports. Yes, it can be conceded that this crime could probably be avoided if we all live by the means and boundaries of religion. This line of thinking is what leads to the rollercoaster of approaches set up to solve this persistent social spiral, such as the setting up of ‘special schools’ in Melaka, months-long religious camps by certain States, et cetra.
Here are some examples of local solutions provided:
The baby hatch was launched on 30 May 2010 in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
It was built to rescue unwanted newborns, a place where mothers must be allowed to leave their babies without fear of prosecution so that these babies can be cared for.
The hatch has a small door which opens to an incubator bed on which the mother can place her baby. Once the door is closed, an alarm bell will alert the NGO’s staff to the baby’s presence after the mother has left.
PLACES FOR PREGNANT TEENS
There are several places that give special services to married or unmarried teens who are pregnant, as well as rape victims.
Special education that teaches pregnant teens to handle the situation and care for their babies are provided.
The existing places for these teens include Sekolah Harapan (click here), Baitul Ehsan, Baitul Islah.
A campaign to stop baby dumping is one of the solutions to raise awareness of this issue to the public. One of the campaign’s focus is “Kami Prihatin”.
It was launched on 23 March 2010, aimed to raise awareness among the community on child abuses and abandoned babies. Several activities were organized to promote child protection policy, including producing a documentary and publishing community awareness advertisements in Utusan Malaysia.
However, we often forget to think about the most fundamental reason that causes the rising numbers of baby dumping, instead we rather play the blame-game revolving around religion and politics to earn the public’s attention.
Sex has always been a taboo subject to be discussed openly by Malaysians. Most parents would rather want their children to learn about sex by themselves with the assumption that they will eventually know about sex when the time is right.
Essentially, the question remains, “when exactly is the ‘right time’ for teenagers of raging hormones to learn about sex”?
This huge neglect of responsibility leads naive and curious youngsters to be blinded by the excitement that comes with it. Our faulty impression of physical intimacy as the sole denominator ‘sex’ is the common misconception among traditional parents. These parents then shy away, rejecting the idea of sex education in school. It’s with this notion that hardliners perceive sex education as an ‘encouragement’ for teenagers to experiment, as if having zero knowledge about reproductive system and health is better than 16-year olds ending up pregnant due to the lack of sex education.
A teen pregnancy eventually becomes an unwelcomed surprise. Of course, the same people who reject the idea of their children receiving sex education will be the ones most affected by another innocent life being left in drain, whose body is found from the dustbins by stray dogs.
But again, do these young parents have a choice?
Are they to be blamed for dumping the babies when there is no one who can accept their mistake & give parental advice, rather than pointing fingers?
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — Police say a majority of baby-dumping cases involve Malays which observers say is the result of the stigma of illegitimate children and the community being ill-equipped to deal with unwanted pregnancies.
Police say 13 out of 65 cases involving the dumping of newborns have resulted in prosecutions. All of the accused were Malays.
Which Malaysian Muslim family can accept a baby born out of wedlock and raise the innocent life while guiding the young parents?
What are the guarantees of the hardliners to continue trusting & loving their children after ‘menconteng arang di muka keluarga’?
If I were to become a young dad at the age of 20, am I ready to be thrown out by the family (with no education and money) for having a baby out of wedlock?
These are probably the concerns of the hundreds of young women who had to dump their newborn babies due to lack of family support. That is partly their parents’ fault as well. True, the State is trying its best to fill in the gap of the faltering family institution, but what is more important is to look beyond alternatives such as ‘Rumah Kebajikan, Rumah Pemulihan Akhlak’, or ‘hatchets in hospitals’.
What happens to the well-being of these children then? Despite being born out of wedlock, they do not deserve to be isolated from the embrace of family.
Hence, parents of these troubled young mums have to do away with the connotation of ‘anak haram’ (the taboo of having illegitimate child). Parents need to guide their children as well as many others of the same situation to realize that it’s not the end of the world, and their family members will always be the backbone to provide full support in preventing the same mistake from happening.
We must come into a realisation that these young couples resort to dumping their newborn babies because they’re out of options due to the limitations set upon by social circumstances. Hence, the best way to solve the problem is not by providing more sanctuaries for such babies, but to tackle the root of it.
Instead of crying over spilled milk, the right path is to ensure that our future generations do not fall into it anymore. The start of ending this recurrent problem is for the society to change its mindset and approach in dealing with the situation of these young parents, rather than dismissing their plea for help and leave the responsibility to the State alone.