JASIN, Aug 2 — About 64 per cent of the 945 cases of abandoned babies were found dead from 2010 until last year after they were left in places like public toilets and garbage areas, said Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Hannah Yeoh.
She urged female teenagers, especially those who became pregnant out of wedlock, not to abandon their babies but to hand them over to the authorities or the Social Welfare Department so that the babies could be saved and adopted.
To date, she said, about 1,000 married couples were in the waiting list to adopt children from the Social Welfare Department.
“Our main focus now is to save the babies because they are innocent and their lives priceless. Female teenagers who give birth out of wedlock can get help by calling the Talian Kasih number 15999 and the department will go to wherever they are to see how they can be helped.
“There are many parents who are waiting for the chance to adopt the babies and if they are handed over to the Social Welfare Department and are not abandoned, they can be saved,” she told reporters after visiting Sekolah Harapan Negeri Melaka here today.
Sekolah Harapan was opened in 2011 for pregnant young unmarried women and there are currently 10 residents aged between 16 and 27 years staying there.
Yeoh said 65 cases of abandoned babies were recorded between January and May this year, and the three states which had the highest number of cases were Johor (13 cases), Selangor (11) and Kedah (five).
She said girls who became pregnant out of wedlock should not be cast out but should instead be helped so that their lives can improve after delivering their babies.
She said according to Health Ministry records the number of babies born out of wedlock in the country for youths aged between 10 and 19 years dropped from 18,000 cases in 2011 to 10,501 last year. — Bernama