Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Child Watch in all states immediately

Sabah Law Association Women and Children's Right (SLAWCR) said the setting up of the "Child Watch" is timely.
Its chairperson, Nilakrisna James, said she totally supported the call by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye for the setting up of "Child Watch" in this country, and reckoned that the idea should have been meted out and enforced immediately after Nurin Jazlin Jazimin's case last year.
Child Watch should comprise officials of the Home Ministry, the police force, RELA and activists for child protection and prevention of child abuse.
According to Nilakrisna, there is no point inviting the entire community to participate in a totally voluntary body committed to combating crime against children because the people will face the same problems such as lack of commitment, procrastination and ultimately, irrelevance.
She said that if statistics showed a serious increase in child abuse, missing children and child murders which are prevalent also in neighbouring countries, then this signifes a serious need for Malaysia to cooperate with Interpol to track down blacklisted suspected paedophiles or child traffickers so that they can be identified by the Immigration before these criminals enter Malaysia.
"My immediate fear is that the recent kidnappings and murder may signal the work of sexual perverts and serial murderers who are actually Malaysian citizens.
"These people may be harder to track down because the authorities may not have a previous blacklisted profile on them. However, the police should start looking into criminals with previous convictions for child rapes who may have been released from prison after serving their time, especially those who have recently been released from prison. They should be followed as potential suspects as they can be repeat offenders," Nilakrisna suggested.
She also reckoned that the Child Watch should also have regular programme slots on primetime television doing reconstruction of the crimes and showing photofits of suspects.
"This would trigger a more vigilante culture in Malaysian society and our people and children would be taught through this programme basic safety measures to tackle and avoid
such crimes," she said. "Ultimately Child Watch needs to be totally proactive
as a think tank to come out with immediate and positive measures to not only tackle
crime against children but mobilize the Government departments, enforcement authorities and the media to create greater awareness in the community. "Everyone in the society from parents, neighbours, carers and teachers need to be extra sensitive to the safety of children at all times and education is key.
"Police need to cooperate with the Education Ministry and Child Watch officials to carry out a nationwide programme of visiting schools to give talks to children on how to protect themselves against strangers and abusers. This should be done every year in January at the school assemblies. This will give Child Watch the opportunity to create posters to be placed in all schools as well as create a 'DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS' campaign," she added.
As such, Nilakrisna felt that the Child Watch must be set up immediately in every State in the country with the head office in Kuala Lumpur's Bukit Aman.