PETALING JAYA: Politicians do not prioritise child rights simply because children are not voters, says the founder of a child rights group, who urged the public to step up and push for such causes.
“I’ve been saying this over and over again. Children don’t vote, so children are not a priority,” Yayasan Chow Kit founder Hartini Zainudin told FMT.
And this is why the public plays an important role in advocating for child rights, she said. The public are the “last bastion of hope for children”.
“In terms of child protection, it has to be the public, because it’s not going to be the policymakers.”
Hartini said parents were often left with the responsibility.
“But we forget that if parents lose their jobs, as what you saw during the pandemic, or the parents aren’t able to move forward, how do they protect the children?”
She said a mentality of “us versus them” would develop, with parents being made to feel it was their fault for not being able to care for their own children.
The activist, who has been fighting for child rights for 42 years, said that it does indeed take a whole village to raise a child.
“And it’s not just about the child, it is about what the child represents, it’s about our societal values, it’s about how we look at children, it’s about investing in the future and the future isn’t just the environment, the future is the children,” she said.
Asked what she would like to convey to those in power, Hartini urged them to make children a priority, “because they matter”.