SPEECH on 21 Nov 2009
First of all, I would like to thank and congratulate Resorts World Genting for organizing such a meaningful event today. The smiling faces of the little ones and the parents in front of me here have already made this special occasion an unforgettable one for me. It is indeed my pleasure to be with all you here today.
The Universal Children’s Day, as you all know, is an important day to be observed by the world, as it is a day to promote ideals and objectives to safeguard the welfare and rights for the children globally. It is our responsibility to reach out to the children of the world and let their outcries be heard. This year, the Universal Children’s Day also marks the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been signed on the same day in 1989 by 191 countries. It signifies that children have the same basic human rights as adults. However, statistics from the United Nations show that around 51 million children born in 2006 have not had their births registered, some 165 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are currently involved in child labour and more than 17,000 children die of starvation every year.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In Malaysia, children are 11.2 million or 40% of the population. Children have been recognised as an important asset to a nation as they will be the human capital who will make us more competitive in this global economy. As a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Child, various efforts have been taken by the Government to ensure and safeguard the welfare and interest of children. With regard to this, the Government has formulated the National Child Policy and its Plan of Action as well as National Child Protection Policy and its Plan of Action recently to ensure the well-being and welfare of the children as well as to shape and develop children into good citizens. The National Child Policy and its Plan of Action have underlined strategies which focusing on survival, protection, development, participation and advocacy, while National Child Protection Policy and its Plan of Action are to ensure children’s protection from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development is concerned about the rise of violence committed against children. In 2007, the number of abuse cases was 2,279 in 2007 but it has increased to 2,780 in 2008. In the same period, the number of abuse cases committed by parents or guardians rose from 992 in 2007 to 1,266 in 2008. Statistics from Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) showed that 4,968 children were reported missing from January 2005 to May 2008, and 37.5 percent is still untraceable. There is an urgent need for various stakeholders such as government agencies, non-governmental organisations, civil society and individuals to hasten the efforts to prevent crimes against children becoming widespread.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I understand that being a single parent is definitely not a simple role to be in, as they have to juggle the time between being the sole breadwinner and spending quality time with their children. And I am inspired by all of you for your perseverance in life’s journey and your contributions to your families, society and the country. I hope today’s event can provide all of you a quiet and relaxed moment with your children. And I truly hope that this experience for both the children and parents will be an unforgettable one.
I always believe that every child deserves his innocence and that should not be robbed away just because they are in a different situation from the rest. Our world relies on how we nurture and cultivate our next generation. Therefore, we should be aware, be sensible enough to make the world a better place for the children by building dignity, a sense of belonging and security in life for them.
Always remember that you are the special ones no matter who you are and where you came from. You are our hope, our joy and our future leaders.
As such, I hope all of you will enjoy programmes and activities today. On that note, I hereby declare the Universal Children’s Day Celebration open. Thank you and Happy Universal Children’s Day.