PETALING JAYA, Nov 2 — Malaysia’s baby hatch system has failed to prevent baby dumping cases, a human rights activist claimed yesterday.

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) commissioner James Deva Nayagam said the incidences of baby dumping nationwide demanded a rethink of the government’s strategy.

“Do you expect a girl from a rural area with a newborn baby to travel all alone to a baby hatch set up in a place far away?” he asked.

Malaysia’s first baby hatch was launched on May 29, 2010 here, prompting other big hospitals around the country to have their own.

Nayagam, who has more than 35 years’ experience in counselling girls with unwanted pregnancies, said someone facing the issue would not be able to think straight.

“The fear of being identified with the baby along the way, the mental distress of delivering the baby alone, and the feeling of abandonment, all would be hounding her,” he said.

“She will only think of ways to discard the baby as quick as possible and wash her hands off the incident.”

He said the fear of tarnishing the family name also drove girls to extreme actions.

“Once a girl has an unwanted pregnancy, she needs all the support she can get. She should be assured that she and her unborn child will be taken care of,” he said.

“Give them protection, shelter and love throughout the pregnancy either in their own house or shelter homes. Once the baby is delivered, give it up for adoption.

“Now both the mother and child can lead a normal life. The mother can go back to school if she was studying.”

Nayagam  was also perturbed by the laws that only charged the mother with baby dumping.

“A simple DNA test would prove the father of the baby and he should be charged, too,” he said.

“The cases we usually see is that the girls are often coerced to have sex by their boyfriends who vanish upon knowing they are pregnant.”

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said those who found themselves in unwanted pregnancies should call Talian Kasih at 15999.

“Anyone in that situation, please let us know. We can help you throughout the pregnancy and will arrange everything. Just please don’t dump the innocent babies,” she said.

Chew said families must teach their children that sex and pregnancy should only happen to those who were legally married.

“They must be taught to be responsible, towards themselves, their bodies, and their family,” she said.

She said while abstinence was the best policy, it was becoming increasingly difficult to know whether one’s child was having sex at an early age or not.

“This is why parents must have proper bonding with their children and spend more time with them,” she said.