1,075 babies dumped in 10 years

A baby hatch operated by OrphanCare. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Young mothers who can’t take care of their newborns should hand them over to OrphanCare Foundation instead of thinking of dumping them, said Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh.

She said over the last 10 years, 1,075 cases of baby-dumping cases were reported across Malaysia, adding that education is necessary to prevent such cases from increasing.

According to Yeoh, 254 cases were reported in Selangor, 141 in Sabah, 127 in Johor, 83 in Kuala Lumpur, 71 in Sarawak, 66 in Perak, 64 in Kedah, 61 in Penang, 56 in Negeri Sembilan, 50 in Pahang, 43 in Kelantan, 26 in Terengganu, 20 in Melaka and 13 in Perlis.

OrphanCare Foundation is an NGO with three baby hatches in Petaling Jaya, Johor Bharu and Sungai Petani. In the past decade, OrphanCare received more than 300 babies.

Speaking after attending a baby market convention here, Yeoh said the ministry was now working on mapping the data received so far on baby-dumping cases to better target the women involved in this practice.

“If we find most of these cases are happening in low-cost housing scheme, we have to target them.

“There’ll be no point in us approaching them online because that will not reach them on the ground.

“So mapping of these cases is very important for us to draw up strategies.”

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh.

The most important message, she said, is about giving an alternative solution to women who are pregnant and who do not want to keep their baby.

“They should gie it to a family that wants the baby, so the baby can be loved.”

Yeoh said there was no need for these women to be overcome by guilt or shame.

“If you are pregnant and don’t want the baby, we want the baby. Don’t kill the baby. Give it up for adoption.”

Yeoh said the process of surrendering a baby to OrphanCare is confidential and endorsed by the ministry. “Nobody will arrest you,” she said.

One of OrphanCare’s six appointed trustees, Noraini Hashim, said they work closely with the ministry to implement “family-based care” for all orphaned children.

She said OrphanCare now received only about 30% of all the unwanted babies.