Govt to set up agency to look after interests of children

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh distributing flowers to visitors at Taman Tasik Menjalara in Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with Mother’s Day.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is planning to set up a specialised agency to look after the interests of children.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said the agency will handle such issues as child rights and protection for children.

“We are looking into the implementation of the agency. At the moment, such matters come under the purview of the Social Welfare Department.

“I pity the department because they have a lot of work and they cannot cope with the volume,” she told reporters this morning after distributing flowers to visitors at Taman Tasik Menjalara here in conjunction with Mother’s Day tomorrow.

Yeoh said the ministry is also waiting for the prime minister to appoint a children’s commissioner, which was first proposed by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

“We have given the list of candidates and the prime minister’s office is expected to make a decision soon,” she said.

She said the commissioner will look into legislation and implementation of policies under the Child Act.

“The commissioner will also look into the compliance issue, such as how the police will comply with the Child Act,” she said.

Commenting on the Registry System for Sexual Offenders against Children (eDKK) introduced last month, Yeoh said 191 applications had been made to check on information in the database.

“I have been told that they showed no record of sexual crimes,” she said.

“However, we have cautioned parents that even if there is no record, it does not mean that their children are 100% safe.

“This is because some may be first-time offenders without any known record as opposed to repeat offenders,” she said.