KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — The government will not impose curfew for children below 18 throughout the country for the time being, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said in Parliament today as part of measures to shield them from negative activities.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also women, family and community development minister, said the curfew proposal — which was agreed upon during a Cabinet committee meeting to fight the drug menace in January — was deemed as unsuitable currently.
“It’s not suitable because of a few factors. Among them is the lack of parental supervision because some parents hold two jobs and are not home to monitor their children.
“Some kids also have other nightly activities such as tuition classes, sports activities and religious activities. There are also children above 15 who are working to help support their family,” she told Wangsa Maju MP Datin Paduka Tan Yee Kew during Question Time.
However, Dr Wan Azizah added that the government is still considering using curfew as a pilot project in certain hot spots.
She stressed that the government cannot be expected to play babysitter as parents are responsible for their offspring.
At the same time, she admits that the lack of proper recreational infrastructure for children and teenagers could be one of the reasons that Malaysian teenagers in impoverished areas gravitate towards vice.
Using Iceland as an example, she said the curfew there was only successful because it was a small part of a greater strategy, one which provides proper recreational infrastructure facilities for kids and teenagers.
To this end, her ministry will be working with the Youth and Sports Ministry to provide such facilities.
“Weather could be one of the reasons why teenagers in overcrowded housing loiter at night outside. In Iceland it is very cold so they are forced in doors into their house. Here, the weather is nicer to hang out at night.
“We also lack the proper recreational facility for our youths,” said Dr Wan Azizah.