DAP MP: What happened to law on parental neglect?

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PETALING JAYA: Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto has questioned what happened to the government’s plan three years ago to introduce a new law to curb child abuse and impose heavier punishment on parents who neglect their children.

The DAP Wanita publicity secretary said the matter was pressing, especially in light of two reported cases so far this year of fathers who were charged with the deaths of their children following abuse.

She said the government needed to start addressing the matter by creating awareness on the ground among parents and their families, as well as in society, schools and the authorities.

“While the intention to come up with a new act with heavier penalties may serve as a deterrent to future abusers, the crux of the matter is that the act of abuse must be prevented at all costs — by the government, ministries, the enforcement authorities and society at large,” she said in a statement today.

In January 2015, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim had said a new act was being planned to emphasise more on addressing parental neglect of children, unlike what was provided for in the Child Act 2001.

She said the act would impose a heavier penalty on parents found guilty of neglecting their children, and hopefully serve as a lesson to parents before they did anything that would harm their children.

On Feb 12, army sergeant Mohammad Abdullah Mohamed, 35, was charged at the Port Dickson magistrate’s court with murdering his nine-year-old daughter Nur Aina.

He was alleged to have abused Nur Aina until she suffered a punctured intestine and broken ribs, with serious injuries to her kidneys and liver.

On Feb 21, Muhammad Firdaus Saidon, 22, was charged at the Bukit Mertajam magistrate’s court with the murder of his 46-day-old baby girl, also under Section 302 of the Penal Code.

The infant was said to have signs of old injuries.

Father charged with infant’s murder