IPOH, May 10 — A list of candidates for the post of Children’s Commissioner has been presented to the prime minister, Deputy Women, Family and Children Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said.
She said aside from the appointment of a commissioner, an agency dedicated to the interests of children would also be formed.
“Thirty per cent of our population are children but there are no agencies to look after them. Currently, children are looked after by a department inside the Social Welfare Department that is burdened by limitations on budget, staffing, disaster relief and welfare aid.
“Once there is an agency for children, we will have an enforcement agency to ensure laws are properly followed,” she said.
Speaking on Bernama News Channel’s The Nation, Yeoh said the appointment of a commissioner was made under the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
“It is the fastest way to get it done because if we were to look into a new structure, we would have to go for legislative change and a separate budget,” she said.
Malay Mail had in July last year reported that the Children’s Commissioner would be an independent, single entity answerable to Parliament.
Following Pakatan Harapan’s win last May, the first suggestion by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) was for the appointment of the commissioner, which it said will encourage different departments to coordinate their efforts and promote better laws, policies and services for children.
More than 60 countries worldwide already have an independent commissioner for children and youth in place, Unicef said.