PETALING JAYA: Parents and guardians must be more responsible when it comes to the welfare of their children, including monitoring their activities, especially late at night.
Lawyer Nor Zabetha Muhammad Nor said this was paramount when it comes to the safety of these minors, adding that any such neglect should be considered an offence under the Child Act 2001.
“As long as they are under 18, then it is the responsibility of the parents or guardian, adoptive families or grandparents,” she told FMT.
She said that those under 18 should not be given the freedom to participate in activities with their peers on the road, especially late at night.
“Sometimes parents may think their teenagers are mature, and so they give them freedom. Freedom to be in relationships, to have fun, to ride motorcycles without a licence,” Nor Zabetha said.
She added, however, that such freedom may not be appropriate for teenagers, even those who are 17.
Commenting on the tragedy of the teenagers on modified bicycles, or “basikal lajak”, and the riding of “kapcai” motorcycles without a licence, she said that the enforcement of the Child Act 2001 should be imposed on parents for “negligence or neglect of responsibility”.
“If those who are responsible for the care of a child, abandon, neglects or exposes the said child to danger so as to cause him/her physical or emotional injury, then it is an offence under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001,” Nor Zabetha said.
Any person guilty of the offence under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act, on conviction, shall be liable to a fine of not more than RM50,000, or imprisonment of up to 20 years, or both.
Yesterday, Sam Ke Ting was sentenced to six years’ jail and fined RM6,000 by the Johor Bahru High Court for reckless driving in connection with the deaths of eight teenagers on modified bicycles, or “basikal lajak”, five years ago.
Expressing sympathy for the victims’ families, Nor Zabetha said: “I understand the grief of the victims’ family members but this could have been avoided had the teenagers been under proper care and supervision of their parents.”
“Parents should take care of their children and make sure they are home and not on the road after dark, which is likely to endanger them.”
She also called for the Child Act to be applied to parents who allow their children to ride motorcycles without a licence, resulting in accidents that caused injuries or deaths.
Two days ago, three “kapcai” riders aged 14 and 15 died as a result of a collision with each other late at night in Kampung Sungai Satan, Jeli, Perak. The minimum age to obtain a motorcycle licence in the country is 16.
According to statistics from the Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement Department (JSPT), a total of 2,688 children aged six to 15 were killed as a result of riding motorcycles between 2009 and 2020.