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NGOs say youth curfew a worthy idea, but…

 | December 8, 2017

They disagree that the age limit should be as high as 21.

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PETALING JAYA: The idea of a curfew for youths has attracted cautious support from the Parents Action Group for Education (Page) and the Suriana Welfare Society.

Page chairman Noor Azimah Rahim and Suriana director Scott Wong told FMT they believed it was a proposal worth considering, but they disagreed that the curfew should be imposed on people as old as 21, as proposed by Wangsa Maju Wanita Umno division chief Noor Aieni Mohd Ali.

Noor Aieni, speaking at the Wanita Umno assembly on Thursday, suggested a 10pm to 5am curfew to ensure better supervision of youths by their parents. She said this would address the problem of loitering and youth involvement in immoral and criminal activities.

Noor Azimah and Wong said it would be impractical to set the age limit at 21 because some people of that age would already be working and some would be in college and they might have to be out at night, either for work or for group study.

“If it’s up to the age of 17, then it’s a good idea,” Noor Azimah said.

Wong said those above the age of 17 should not be considered children. “They’re already basically adults,” he said.

He cautioned against a rush to put Nor Aieni’s proposal into effect, saying there should first be a proper study of it.

Azimah said she was concerned about how the curfew would be enforced. She suggested that any reprimand should be directed at parents instead of children. “A fine always works,” she said.

She also said children going out at night with their parents should be excused from the curfew.

A children’s curfew in Iceland is reported to have resulted in a reduction of social problems among youths.

Under Iceland’s Child Protection Act of 2002, a child aged 12 or below may not be outdoors after 8pm unless accompanied by an adult. Children aged 13 to 16 may not be outdoors after 10pm unless they are on their way home from events organised by a school, sports organisation or youth club.

From May 1 to Sept 1, children may be outdoors for two hours longer.

Children and teenagers who break the curfew are taken to the local police station, from where their parents will have to fetch them home.

Parents take turns to go on patrol during the curfew hours.

Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teenagers.

A recent survey indicated the percentage of children aged 15 and 16 who got drunk plummeted from 42% in 1998 to 5% in 2016. The percentage of those who smoked cigarettes went down from 23% to 3%, and the incidence of cannabis use went down from 17% to 7%.

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