Wanita MCA is concerned and troubled by the alarming increase in child abuse cases, especially the recent tragedies involving a 5-year-old Malay girl and an 18-month-old child at an unlicensed childcare centre. These heartbreaking incidents underscore an urgent by the government, Ministry of Women, Family, and Community Development, and relevant authorities to take immediate steps to bolster child protection measures.

We also urge the government to review and strengthen the Child Act and related legislations to ensure comprehensive protection for minors. This includes tougher penalties for offenders, clear legal responsibilities for licensed childcare facilities, and strict adherence to standards set by the Women's Ministry, with all centres obtaining legal licenses.

The women’s wing of  MCA appeals to the Women's Ministry to swiftly establish a rigorous certification and review system for childcare providers, ensuring they meet stringent experience and qualification criteria without any criminal record.

Public awareness must be heightened through joint efforts between the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications, promoting children's rights education in schools, communities, and media, along with fostering positive parenting practices.

We advocate for cohesive collaboration among government bodies, NGOs, educational institutions, healthcare providers, and community leaders to form a robust child protection network, ensuring underaged persons receive unwavering attention and safeguarding at all levels.

The Women's Ministry should actively promote the 15999 Talian Kasih child abuse prevention hotline and the 019-2615999 Talian Kasih mobile application, encouraging prompt reporting of suspected cases and enhancing accessibility to these vital resources.

Simultaneously, comprehensive psychological and legal support services must be extended to abused children and their families, encompassing counseling, legal aid, and rehabilitation to aid in their recovery and rebuilding process.

To enhance child protection efforts, the government should prioritise professional training for early childhood caregivers, including teachers, caregivers, and healthcare professionals, equipping them with the skills to detect and respond effectively to signs of abuse.

Wanita MCA calls upon community members to actively participate in safeguarding children, establishing local monitoring mechanisms to swiftly identify and report any instances of abuse.

Safeguarding children is a fundamental responsibility of society. The government, educational institutions, NGOs, and every individual must unite in creating a safe and nurturing environment for our minors to thrive.

Wong You Fong
Wanita MCA National Chairperson

16 June 2024

-MCA Comm-