KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has urged the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) to restore the function of the Talian Nur 1599 hotline which was previously dedicated to children and operated by trained staff with psychosocial qualifications.
Its Commissioner for Children Prof Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal said currently the 1599 hotline does not have a dedicated line to ensure the safety of children.
She said the government should put more effort into ensuring children’s safety particularly those living in the rural areas.
“KPWKM is also urged to use the legal provisions in the Child Act (Amendment) 2016 regarding the appointment of protective assistants among non-governmental organisations,” she said in a statement today.
The 15999 hotline and WhatsApp number 019-2615999 should be advertised to the public through all platforms namely social media, television, radio, and billboards, she added.
Noor Aziah said following the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO) to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, children face difficulties in obtaining their basic rights including education and proper recreation, adding that many of them are living in an unsafe environment.
“KPWKM has recorded a total of 4,349 cases of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of children last year, including 2,287 cases of domestic violence. The ministry also confirmed the high number of cases especially during the implementation of various MCOs. It has also been reported in the news that incest cases have increased during the MCO period,” she added.
On another matter, Noor Aziah said foster families should register with the Social Welfare Department to allow the department to monitor the safety and well-being of their foster children as well as provide advice if the children’s biological parents want to take them back.
“I am saddened by the death of a seven-year-old boy in Taman Krubong Jaya, Melaka believed to be abused by his biological mother and stepfather. Serious cooperation from all parties is needed to stop violence against children,” she said.