Sunday, February 3, 2013

Time to prosecute negligent parents

Responsible parenting: 
Hold on to your children to keep them safe.

The Sunday Star
by Roger Tan

It is incomprehensible why some parents and guardians continue to fail or refuse to appreciate the severity of their actions by causing children to eventually become victims of neglect.

LIKE many Malaysians, I was heartbroken to learn that the decomposed body found near the Kampung Sungai Sireh jetty in Port Klang on Jan 24 was that of the missing six-year-old William Yau Zhen Zhong.

William will now join the list of highly publicised cases of missing children who were either found dead subsequently or are still missing such as Ang May Hong (1987), Chai Sieu Chi (1995), Tin Song Sheng (1996), Nushuhada Burak (2000), S. Maniarasi (2001), Nurul Huda Abdul Ghani (2004), Haserawati Saridi (2004), Nurin Jazlin Jazimin (2007), Sharlinie Mohd Nasha (2008), Mohd Asmawi Jalaludin (2008), Harirawati Saridi (2009), Nisha Chandramohan (2010), Nurul Nadirah Abdullah (2012) and Satishkumar Tamilvanan (2012).

Personally, I can commiserate with William’s parents over their loss. In my case, my beloved father Tan Sue Yong, who disappeared in 2000, is still missing. The sorrow, grief and agony experienced by those who are left behind are simply indescribable.

It is sad really that despite our nation’s conscience being shaken each time a high profile case like William’s is highlighted, we continue to have reports of missing children.

According to the official portal of the Royal Malaysia Police (, 4,804 persons were reported missing between January and October last year. Of these, 2,332 have been found, but 2,472 persons are still missing. Of the 2,472 missing persons, 1,177 of them are children, that is, those aged below 18, and 896 of them are girls. This statistic is indeed alarming as it means an average of 16 people are reported missing daily nationwide!

Hence, if we, as a society, are to be judged by how we protect our children who form the most vulnerable component of it, then we may have failed miserably. This begs the question whether the majority of these cases could have been avoided if the person having care of the child had exercised due supervision and diligence.