Activists: Negligent parents should face music

PETALING JAYA, Sept 15 — Parents who cause the death of their children by leaving them behind in hot cars should not be let off the hook easily.

Voice of the Children chairman Sharmila Sekaran said law enforcers must pursue such cases and ensure those guilty are brought to court to avoid more cases of parents leaving their children behind in cars.

“The amended Child Act 2015 has included stricter punishments for parents who neglect their kids, however the authorities must strongly enforce it so parents are punished according to those laws,” she said.

“Law enforcers must step up and recommend these parents are prosecuted otherwise there will be more cases of parents or caregivers leaving children locked up in cars for hours, causing them to die.”

Sharmila said the process of testifying in court acts as an awareness by itself since parents would have to openly admit their wrongdoing which caused injury or death of their child.

“Parents who do not prioritise their child’s welfare should not be handed the pity card as they must be held responsible for their actions,” she added.

Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said parents must be prosecuted and punished for the sheer act of parental neglect.

“Child negligence cases have been happening for far too long and nothing much has been done so far. This is extremely disheartening,” he said.

He said the authorities must prevent needless child deaths from occurring by placing the interest of children first before anything else.

“The safety of children must not be compromised at all cost. If the authorities do not come down hard in cases of child neglect, we will only see more cases happening,” said Lee.

He said parents must be exposed to the severity of the child laws so they will be aware of the effects which will befall them if they were to neglect their children.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun said Malaysians should stand united and defend the neglected child instead of sympathising with parents who abandon their children.

“We should not be divided and worry about the emotions of those parents who have neglected their child. There are no two ways about this as action must be taken against irresponsible parents,” said Azizah.

She said there had been cases of parents being prosecuted for neglect under Section 31 of the Child Act 2001 in the past, however not every case was reported.

“We need intense enforcement to wake these parents up so that they will put their child first in all that they do,” she said.

She said the ministry will be working with activists, parents associations and the community in tackling this issue.

“We will work together to carry out campaigns and advertisements which will bring awareness regarding child laws and the consequences in event of parents neglecting their children,” she said.

Related Articles