PETALING JAYA: Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim has called for more baby hatches to be set up nationwide in the wake of the recent detention of a Form 5 girl on suspicion of dumping her newborn baby girl.
Criticising the lack of action by politicians and the government, he said the only ones who appeared to care were the Orphan Care Foundation which he said was exemplary in showing the way to help young women in distress.
He said the foundation had saved more than 500 babies in the last 10 years, setting up baby hatches, where women can leave their babies “instead of in the drains”.
“They have only three centres in the Peninsula, but they need more all over the country,” he said in a Facebook post. Without the safety of hatches, more babies would be abandoned and some would die.
On Saturday, police said a 17-year-old schoolgirl had been detained to assist in investigations after the body of a newborn was found in a rubbish bin near Taman Bagan flats in Butterworth. The teenager had admitted to giving birth to the baby, the result of a sexual relationship with a school mate.
Zaid questioned why the government has not done more to address the problem of baby dumping. He said the ministry for women, family and community development as well as the education minister can be more proactive.
“Where is sex education in schools leading to? How much information is given to girls on the dangers of premarital sex? Can we not tell them how to have safe sex?” he said.
He took the government to task for its “lack of interest”.
“They do not want extremists to accuse them of encouraging promiscuity or sex before marriage, an accusation they could easily counter and overcome if they are sincere in helping Muslim women,” he said.
“Saving lives is apparently not a strong enough reason for them to act decisively.”
He also criticised Muslim leaders who frequently depict themselves as champions of “Muslim sensitivities” and asked whether these leaders really cared about Muslim welfare and sensitivities.
“I guess they are just busybodies. They don’t care about Muslim sensitivities; more likely, they are manufacturers of sensitivities,” he said. “Arresting a young girl is not difficult; but helping and counselling; and saving a life, is the way to help Muslim women.”
Orphan Care’s website shows they operate three baby hatches, in Petaling Jaya, Johor Bahru and Sungai Petani, Kedah, and collaborate with KPJ Hospitals, which have seven baby hatches across the country.