KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s good weather has been identified as a reason why teenagers stay out late at night, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said other reasons include overcrowded housing areas, which prompt teenagers to go out for recreation.
“The environment also does not help. Iceland is colder, so it is better for them to stay at home.
“In Malaysia, the weather is nicer at night. Maybe that is why teenagers find it more comfortable to be outside at night,” she said during question time today.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also deputy prime minister, was replying to a supplementary question by Tan Yee Kew (PH-Wangsa Maju), as to whether the government had carried out studies to understand reasons why teenagers were drawn to hanging out until late at night.
Dr Wan Azizah (PH-Pandan) also identified a lack of recreational areas as a big problem.
Earlier in her reply, Dr Wan Azizah had cited the Iceland youth model, which had proven successful in drastically reducing cases of alcohol and cigarette abuse among teenagers, after a curfew was implemented.
The minister told the Dewan Rakyat that the Iceland government had put in place long term financial investment for the development of recreational infrastructure, with the poor entitled to leisure cards with US$330 (RM1,350) for each child annually to fund sports, music and drama classes.
“The Iceland model is a social movement where curfew monitoring is done by the parents and people in the neighbourhood themselves, with minimal involvement from the government.
“It will be nice to do this in Malaysia. However, the comparisons between Iceland and Malaysia are just too stark, including the difference in the child population. There is also the issue of the government’s ability to provide a strong and solid support system, as well as the issue of household income,” she said, adding that there were issues related to socio-economic conditions and work-life balance as well.
At this juncture, Dr Wan Azizah said, the government had no plan to impose a curfew on those under 18, but was instead considering a pilot project in several hotspots, citing Desa Rejang in Setapak as an example.
“The onus is on parents and guardians to ensure they are in safe areas at all times, not just at night. This responsibility is not supposed to be taken over by the government,” she added.