Archive for the ‘Sex Education’ Category

Marriage of 11-year-old girl illegal – Dr Wan Azizah

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The marriage between an 11-year-old girl and a 41-year-old man in Kelantan is illegal, according to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

She said this was because the marriage had not received the consent of the Syariah court as the girl was under the minimum legal age for marriage.

“The marriage is not legal and they must be separated,” she told a press conference after officiating an Aidilfitri open house with 2,000 asnaf orphans organised by Insaf Malaysia at the Setiawangsa Mini Stadium here on Sunday.

Present were Setiawangsa Member of Parliament Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and Insaf Malaysia president Ishak Abdul Kadir.

According to the Islamic Family Law Enactment which applies in all states, the minimum legal age for marriage is 18 for a male and 16 for a female. Those under the legal minimum age will only be permitted for marriage if they get the consent of the Syariah court and their parents.

Child marriage issue once again came into the spotlight after the news of a 41-year-old man who took a girl 30 years younger than him as his third wife went viral on social media, drawing flak from various parties since Friday.

Initial investigations by the Kelantan Welfare Department found that the marriage took place in Golok, Thailand and the girl’s parents were said to be Thai nationals.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said her ministry’s officials were still unable to locate the groom.


Read more @

Ban child marriage in Malaysia, NGOs tell Govt.

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

KOTA KINABALU: Children’s rights groups and activists from all over the country are calling for a ban on child marriage in Malaysia.

The Child Rights Civil Society Organisations Group (CSCG) said in a statement Sunday that child marriage was totally unacceptable anywhere in the world.

“No exceptions. It is not in the best interests of a child whose rights to health, education and protection are likely to be jeopardised as the child’s focus shifts from completing school to domestic duties and parenthood,” said the group.

It urged the government to take immediate action to ban child marriage by setting the legal minimum age for marriage at 18, and to fulfil what was promised in the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto on the issue.

“We hope that Deputy Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) will meet with child rights NGOs to address critical child protection issues,” it said.

This came following the recent marriage involving an 11-year-old girl to a 41-year-old Malaysian man, who already has two wives and six children in Gua Musang, Kelantan.

The CSCG said such a situation was not acceptable and against the basic principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to which Malaysia is a signatory.

The group said as a party, Malaysia has to take effective and appropriate measures to abolish traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children.

“We ask the Pakatan Harapan Government to urgently do a complete review on child development and protection support systems which has more often than not failed our children.

“We urge the Government to work with and listen to NGOs as we exist to complement and support the Government to address serious gaps in the implementation of policies and laws for the protection of our children, both citizens and non-citizens,” the group said.

The group members comprise Sabah Women’s Action-Resources Group (SAWO), PACOS Trust, Sabah (Partners of Community Organisation), Childline Malaysia, Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Association of Women Lawyers (AWL), Yayasan Chow Kit, ARAM Foundation, Malaysian Advocates for Child Health (MACH), PUAKPayung , Educational, Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF), Geutanyoe Foundation and Projek Layang Layang.

By Stephanie Lee.

Read more @

Suhakam concerned that child marriage legalises paedophilia

Sunday, July 1st, 2018
PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is troubled that “possible paedophilia activity” can be legalised through child marriage.

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail also expressed his concern that child marriage will encourage sexual violence against children.

“Suhakam is concerned that at present, religious justifications supported by law may be used to provide cover for paedophiles and child sexual predators who marry the children/victims,” said Razali in a statement on Sunday (July 1).

According to international standards, child marriage is defined as any marriage carried out below the age of 18.

In Malaysia, it is still legal for children below the age of 18 to be married under Islamic and civil laws.

Non-Muslim girls can marry as early as 16, provided they get the permission of the Chief Minister or Mentri Besar.

For Muslims, the minimum age of marriage is 16 for girls and 18 for boys. But exceptions can be made for girls or boys to marry at a younger age as long as they obtain the Islamic courts’ consent.

Customary law sets the minimum age to get married for girls at 16 and 18 for boys. A parent or legal guardian may give their written consent for underage marriages.

“Suhakam does not think enough has been done to end child marriages in Malaysia and believes zero tolerance of child marriage must be enforced at every root of society,” said Razali.
Razali, on behalf of Suhakam, called on Syariah court judges and the authorities to stop child marriages.

“(They) must be held accountable for perpetuating this egregious practice,” he said.

Razali said that there is no justification to child marriage and the rights of the child must be protected.

“Suhakam also calls on the new government to take a principled position on this issue and to keep to its election promise to all Malaysians to set the legal minimum age of marriage to 18 for all persons,” he said.
Ending child marriage by 2030 is among the targets set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that Malaysia has committed itself to.

“In the meantime, Suhakam recommends that the government and state religious bodies including the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) take active steps to inform the public about the detriments associated with underage marriages,” said Razali.

Razali also urged the Women, Children and Community Development Ministry to respond “more diligently” to the issue.
Razali’s comments come after news of a 41-year-old man marrying an 11-year-old girl.

The father of six took the girl as his third wife after he went to Golok, a border town in Narathiwat, southern Thailand, two weeks ago to have the marriage solemnised.

End sex education stigma

Sunday, July 1st, 2018
Thayalan Paliandy with the baby who was thrown out from the second floor of a building in Kajang. PIC COURTESY OF THAYALAN PALIANDY

MALAYSIANS this past week must have been shocked to hear or read about the newborn baby who was thrown out of a building at Jalan Hentian 4, Hentian Kajang, by his mother.

The boy was reported to have been thrown out the window of a toilet on the second floor of the building, landing in an alley behind a restaurant, with a thud so loud that several people heard it. First on the scene was a man named Thayalan Paliandy, or Ajay, a hero no less important than the bravest of warriors, at least to the baby.

Rushed to hospital, the baby survived, though he is reported to still be in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Ajay has been visiting the baby every day for at least an hour and, along with several others touched by the baby’s plight or perhaps horrified by his mother’s actions, has been donating things like diapers and other essentials. Whether the baby survives is still up in the air.

It is horrifying indeed that in this day and age, when we are supposed to be living in times more enlightened than ages gone by, that such incidents still occur. It is, after all, a time when numerous methods of giving away an unwanted baby exist. We have a number of baby hatches available, besides orphanages, which have been around for hundreds of years.

For this is not an isolated case, as some may think. At the New Straits Times, and no doubt other media organisations, many stories of babies being abandoned, most of whom were found dead, have landed on our desks. Most do not see print, due to a number of reasons. It is an appalling number, to say the least.

When you think about the number of childless couples that are out there, such loss of life — innocent, precious lives at that — seems unthinkable, unnecessary and unforgivable.

Why kill the child when there are alternatives like hatches and orphanages? And when you realise that a child is basically made up of the DNA of his or her mother and father, then killing that child is basically killing a part of yourself. How does one stomach that?

There are those who advocate sex education in schools to stem the tide of unwanted teen pregnancies. Not just the basic science lesson here, which basically merely touches on male and female reproductive organs. No, they advocate sex education in its entirety. Education that covers a holistic approach.

This is something that is important. Our children need to be educated not just about their organs, but how babies are made and what are the responsibilities that go with it. And if you really think our teens know how babies are made, then you are wrong, as there have been surveys which show the depth, or lack thereof, of sexual understanding teens in Malaysia have, with some thinking that kissing can lead directly to one getting pregnant, though for sure there are parents out there who would prefer to let their daughters think that so they don’t even engage in kissing.

The problem is the stigma that is attached to sex education. Those against such education believe it will lead to promiscuity and heightened sexual awareness and activity. Maybe so, as part of sex education would be how to have responsible sex. But better that than more babies being abandoned.

There is a need for such stigma to be done away with, though of course this is easier said than done. It is something entrenched in Malaysian society and may take years, if not decades, to get rid of. But get rid of it we must.

Another reason why this stigma needs to be done away with is that women and girls who do find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy will then find themselves not having to deal with the stress of dealing with the stigma attached to it. They may choose to bring up the child on their own, or leave him or her with an orphanage or a baby hatch.

Let’s face it, with or without sex education, there will always be teens who find themselves unable to control their primal urges, and accidents do happen. So the most important thing, in the long term, would be for Malaysia and Malay-sians to drop the stigma attached to sex and sex education.


Read more @

NGOs call for child marriage to be banned, criminalised

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) is calling for a ban on child marriage and for new laws to criminalise the act.

Its president, Professor Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh, said early marriages are a violation of human rights and the Convention on the Rights of a Child, of which Malaysia was a signatory.

“It is not sufficient to have laws allowing child marriage repealed. There must be laws that are put in place to prohibit and criminalise child marriage.

“Studies have shown that child marriage has devastating consequences especially for girls. Sadly, the problem is nothing new in Malaysia,” he said.

He said in 2010, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry had revealed that there were close to 15,000 Malaysian girls in child marriages.

“The new government must take the initiative to come up with an action plan to protect Malaysian children especially girls from child marriage.

The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) is calling for a ban on child marriage and for new laws to criminalise the act. Pic by NSTP/ source from Social Media.

“The Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto included the introduction of a new law which sets 18 as the minimum age of marriage.

He urged the government to fulfil the pledge through the tabling of a law to eliminate child marriages at the coming parliament session.

“We also urge all Malaysians to contact their respective members of parliament to seek their commitment and support for the elimination of child marriages in Malaysia,” he added.

Meanwhile, Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) also called for immediate measures to be taken by the government to condemn child marriage through a legislative action.

“It’s appalling that this case has surfaced barely days after the ‘Girls Not Brides’ international conference held here, calling for a global ban on child marriage.

“This must be done by raising the marriageable age for all Malaysians, whether male or female, to 18-years-old, without exception.”

Muslim-majority countries that have raised the minimum age of marriage include Algeria (19 for both men and women), Bangladesh (18 for women and 21 for men), Morocco (18 for both men and women) and Turkey (which raised the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18 for women).

The marriage of an 11-year-old girl as the third wife of a 41-year-old Malaysian man on June 18 had went viral on social media, causing an uproar among Malaysians

The online posting by the man’s second wife was accompanied by several pictures with a caption that read: “Selamat pengantin baru suamiku (congratulations on your wedding, my husband). Suami 41, Maduku 11 tahun (My husband 41, his wife 11-years-old).”


Read more @

Sex education can prevent sexual abuse, incest

Sunday, April 1st, 2018
Three men, two of them brothers, pleaded not guilty at the Ayer Keroh Sessions Court on March 15, to a charge of raping a 17-year-old girl at a house in the Alor Gajah district, around 8.40pm and 10.10pm on Feb 28. Pic by MUHAMMAD ZUHAIRI ZUBER

Lately, there have been many reports on crimes of sexual nature, especially incest. Like skeletons in the closet, these abominable acts are being exposed after years of sexual abuse.

According to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, 1,796 incest, 1,152 unnatural sex and 6,014 molest cases involving children were reported between 2010 and May last year.

These children fell victim to their fathers, stepfathers, uncles, brothers and, sometimes, grandfathers. The victims are warned not to report the sexual act to family members and, out of fear, they keep silent.

The sexual abuse goes on for years, and even if the family members find out about it, they do not do anything for fear of repercussions.

Two years ago, there was the shocking report of a girl being kept a sex slave by her father for 12 years. The girl had been raped since she was 6 in her home by her father.

Although the girl had told her mother about her ordeal, the mother was unable to do anything for fear of being assaulted by her husband.

The girl stopped bringing up the matter, as every time she did, the father would beat her seven other siblings. She gave in to her father’s lust for 12 years.

Finally, the 18-year-old Sixth Former broke her silence and confided to her teacher. The 42-year-old father was arrested after the girl lodged a report

Crimes of incestuous nature occur because no one in the family reports them. The husband is usually the sole breadwinner of the family, so the mother becomes an unwilling accomplice.

In Limbang, a grandfather, father and cousins were held over the rape of a 12-year-old girl. They have been raping the girl since last year.

How many more girls are being forced into sex slavery in their own homes? This must stop.

Children are attaining puberty early due to diet and modern lifestyle. They must be informed of the physical and sexual changes that take place in their bodies.

Sexual perverts take advantage of innocent children.

Most children suffer in silence because they do not know who to turn to for help.


Read more @

Ministry: Let’s have sex education in school.

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

PETALING JAYA: The Women, Family and Community Develop-ment Ministry has recommended a review of the school syllabus to incorporate sex education in the subjects of Moral Education and Islamic Studies.

The ministry said the recommendation was raised during the Malaysian Council for Child Welfare meeting at UTC Kuching in Sarawak recently.

The meeting was a platform for council members to discuss and find solutions to issues concerning children in the country, including students who were lagging behind academically or expelled, as well as incest.

“Concerns over the safety of children, especially that of sexual abuse victims, were also highlighted,” the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

“All this while, our children have been too exposed to unverified information on the Internet and social media,” the statement quoted Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim as saying.

The council also discussed the citizenship of children placed under the care of the Social Welfare Department – a matter that also involves the National Registration Department under the Home Ministry.

After the meeting, a dialogue programme was held at Yayasan Sarawak to discuss current issues concerning crime against children.

Among the panel speakers were Supt Siti K
Read more @

Teach kids sex ed before predators do

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017
Participants at a #SayaSayangSaya town hall session in Kuala Terengganu in March. PIC BY ASLINA ABU BAKAR

“I DIDN’T know that you could get pregnant by having sex” . These were the words of Sara, a 15-year-old girl interviewed by popular actress Lisa Surihani for a video on sex predators. She found herself pregnant after having sex with a man she had met on WeChat.

It is for children like Sara that we are making the call for sexual and reproductive health education to be made mandatory in schools. Without such an education, children will get their information from other sources. Sadly, this includes strangers they meet online.

Internet-mediated rape, teenage pregnancies, baby dumping, early or forced marriage and higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections can be attributed to the absence of sex education in schools and the reluctance of many parents to discuss sex and sexuality with their teenage children.

On April 26, the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill passed into law. It is an important piece of legislation that sends a clear message: children in Malaysia need to be better protected against sexual violence.

However, this new law is just one part of the equation and will not suffice to keep children safe. Children and young people need to be empowered with the knowledge and skills to identify risks and protect themselves from unwelcome sexual advances or pregnancies.

Last December, the Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a General Comment on the implementation of the rights of the child during adolescence for such an education to be a mandatory part of the school curriculum. It detailed that the curriculum needs to be age-appropriate, comprehensive and inclusive. Its focus should be on sexual and reproductive health, not just sex, but the entire gamut of what constitutes a relationship.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has been working with other organisations reaching out to children and adolescents across Malaysia in town-halls to talk about what remains a taboo topic in most homes. The #SayaSayangSaya initiative is based on the belief that any healthy relationship starts with loving and respecting oneself first.

At these town halls, we talk about respect, making sure children are not pressured into doing things they are not comfortable with. We talk about
safety, making sure children
are emotionally and physically safe in their relationships. We talk about acceptance, making sure our children do not compromise their beliefs to gain friendships. This education makes them resistant to social pressures inflicted by their peers or sexual predators they may encounter online.

When polled, more than 90 per cent of children attending these town hall sessions thought it important for sexual and reproductive education to be taught in their schools. We cannot afford to leave our children’s knowledge or reproductive health and sexuality up to chance.

So, the next time children hear the words “I’ll teach you about sex”, let’s be certain that it comes from a trusted and trained educator or their parents themselves.

Unicef, in partnership with DiGi, R.AGE and WOMEN: girls, is running a series of youth town-halls across the country known as #SayaSayangSaya to raise awareness among young people about healthy teen relationships, teen online dating and Internet-related sexual violence.


Read more @

Sex education for children a must

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Teaching children about sex can equip them with proper knowledge of the consequences attached to sex.

THE beginning of an article published in the New Straits Times recently may have brought back childhood memories and a smile to the faces of some readers.

The article itself was a serious one, but the lead and second paragraphs, though not meant to be funny, may have had that effect. In these two paragraphs, we are told of a statement recorded from a young woman who had been caught after abandoning her newborn.

Though well-educated, the young woman believed that a kiss could make her pregnant but did not know that sexual intercourse could.

It is no laughing matter, of course, but some readers probably couldn’t help but smile or slap their foreheads.

The Christians among us, especially, probably had some memories come rushing back. For those of you who have not read the Bible, the Holy Book is actually quite a racy collection of text.

This is especially so in the Old Testament, which for those unfamiliar with the book, is the part which, simply put, deals with the early history of the world and the Israelites. There are mentions of harlots and concubines, and scenes of rape, seduction and even drunken sex.

As a young child, however, reading the Bible can be a tad confusing when it comes to its mentions of anything sexual. As mentioned, there are tonnes of references to sexual intercourse between two (sometimes more) people, but in many of these references, the language is vague, to say the least.

It is, after all, a religious book containing things written hundreds of years ago. You can’t just say “so-and-so had sex with his/her significant other/concubine”.

The word most often used is “lay”. In the story of Lot, the nephew of Abraham, we are told that his daughters get him drunk after their mother is turned into a pillar of salt and “lay” with him to get pregnant (yes, you read that right… there is incest, too, in the Bible).

Little wonder, then, the confusion among young, impressionable and inexperienced minds; the mere act of lying down with someone can get a woman pregnant (or, “with child” — there was no confusion about that term).

The point here is this: it is not that the Bible is confusing; it is that one of the most important things we need to realise is that education is extremely important.

That education — sex education, that is — is the best thing to stop child sex abuse.

Federal police Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division principal assistant director Assistant Commissioner Ong Chin Lan was quoted as saying that greater awareness of sex crimes was needed to increase vigilance against sexual predators, along with stronger laws as a deterrent for others, such as the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill 2017, which was recently passed in the Dewan Rakyat.

She was also quoted as saying that she believed moral-based teachings needed to be enhanced along with the present academic-based curriculum, and that there was a need to take another look at the approach to sex education in schools.

Others were quoted as supporting the need for a more comprehensive sex education syllabus in schools.

One thing these experts didn’t touch on, though, was the role of parents in all this. This point, in fact, is a very important one, especially taking into consideration how the article began. The woman talked about at the very start of it all had actually been told by her mother, when she was a young girl, that kissing boys could lead to pregnancy.

Sadly, we seem to have forgotten that the very first educators for children are their own parents. It is their parents who teach them their first words, how to hold their bottles, how to “go potty”, brush their teeth, and all other manner of things.

But, sex is a topic that is so taboo in Malaysia that when it comes to teaching our children about the birds and the bees, we tend to shy away or avoid it altogether. We would rather just leave it to schools.

And thanks to this taboo, and the social stigma attached to merely talking about sex, teachers, too, are usually loathe to go into detail, glossing over the subject and dismissing any questions the children may have.

Teaching our children about sex and sex crimes as soon as they are able to grasp the lessons should be the priority for every parent.

Yes, of course, we dread that talk. But, it has to be done, so that we can keep them away from predators and so that they are equipped with proper knowledge of the consequences and responsibilities attached to sex.


Read more @

Taking on an awkward talk.

Sunday, April 16th, 2017
SEX IS the one topic that many parents will fumble with when it comes to educating children.

While it is often still treated as a taboo by many Asian families, many parents are beginning to live through the awkwardness by opening up on the issue nowadays.

Parents interviewed by MetroPerak are saying that it is important for their children to learn from someone they can trust about the changes in their bodies as they grow up and how they feel about the opposite sex, instead of letting them figure things out on their own.

Some have already planned how to broach the conversation with their growing children.

On the other hand, there are still some who only feel comfortable with answering questions if their children ask.

General Studies teacher Rafiza Ghazali, 39, said, as her children will become teenagers in a few more years, she thinks it’s better to educate them in stages as they grow.

The mother of two, aged eight and 10, said her children have already been exposed to the topic of intimate relationships in their religious studies, and it is up to her to explain the topic to them.

“They have asked me about the meaning of an intimate relationship. They understand that it is something that their father and I have together.

“Other aspects, such as kissing, they only know about thanks to watching movies.

“I think this is appropriate for their young age. I haven’t spoken to them about sexual relationships yet because it is better to wait for them to be more mature.

“I don’t want them to be shocked when they find out now,” she told MetroPerak.

On March 28, it was reported that experts are saying that parents need to be positive and open when discussing sexual issues with their adolescent children.

Universiti Malaya Educational Psychology and Counselling Senior Lecturer Dr Norsafatul Aznin A. Razak was quoted as saying that the failure of parents to clearly communicate with children about sex is one of the reasons that teenagers engage in free sex.

She also said that the use of communications devices among children needs to be monitored.

Agreeing with Dr Norsafatul, Rafiza said parents today should not feel shy or awkward about sexual topics, because it is better for the children to learn it from them than outsiders.

“If they don’t learn it from you, they are going to learn it from their friends, their boyfriends or girlfriends, and you will never know what they are actually telling each other.

“Who knows if they might feel tempted to do a ‘practical trial’ with other people if they are not educated properly?” she said.

A retiree who wants to be known only as Lee, 56, said she tries to communicate openly with her 17-year-old daughter when it comes to bodily functions and relationship advice.

“At this age, it is important that teenagers should know about sex and what they can do to protect themselves where sex is concerned.

“For me, it’s good that my daughter doesn’t feel shy about asking me these questions, so I have no problem answering them either,” she said.

Lee also makes it a point to voluntarily educate her daughter on the subject whenever they come across topics like pregnancy.

“I know that they also learn about reproduction in schools, and with teens being teens, they are bound to talk a lot about it among their friends.

Read more @