Fri06222018

LAST_UPDATETue, 15 May 2018 11am

School for Pregnant Teenagers: A Positive Step to Curbing Baby Dumping

Melaka state government through its Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Ali Rustam in July has announced the establishment of a school for pregnant teenagers to curb an alarming epidemic of baby dumping.

 

Ali Rustam said that the school was among the state government’s strategy which includes encouraging pregnant girl to marry.

Ali Rustam“Only married teens will be allowed to attend the school. For unmarried teenagers, they also can be part of the school but with one condition – they must marry the baby’s father,” Ali said.

As we all know, Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country grappling with the rise cases of abandoned infants, often dumped dead or dying in the streets or in rubbish dumps. This is of course something that is totally unacceptable and could tarnish Malaysia’s image as one of the leading Islamic country in the world.

I would like to congratulate the Melaka state government because they seem to take this issue seriously. But unfortunately, despite their good intentions, there are still some people especially the opposition that makes this issue as their ‘political ammunition’ and use it as point to ‘attack’ the Melaka state government. People who are active in these sort of acts can simply be described as opportunists and populists.

At least Melaka state government is brave enough to be the first state to turn conscious effort into action. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for one of the east coast states that claim to be the ‘Serambi Mekah’ (Veranda of Mecca) but take no positive action whatsoever to cope with the problem in hand. Talks (ceramah) by the spiritual ‘Tok Guru’ alone are simply not enough to deal with this symptom.

I, for one, am of the opinion of allowing teenagers to get married early as this is more practical than to establish a school for pregnant teenagers. The reason is that prevention is better than cure and what we really have to figure out is how to avoid teenage pre-marital pregnancies instead of finding solutions for things that had already happen. So if we allow teenagers to marry early, we can avoid not only them from having illegitimate babies and baby dumping cases, but also other ensuing social problems that are likely to arise from these incidences . .

However, I also have to admit that the setting up of this school for pregnant teenagers is likely to have negative effects. Firstly, the school will be labelled undesirably as a ‘pregnant teenagers’ school’ and the insensitive, holier-than-thou types would think of it as some sort of school for irresponsible girls. Secondly, being a student in this school may have a not-so-good effect on the students’ future as they ‘graduated’ from this so-called ‘school of the immorals’.

Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure that research has been done before they decided to establish this school. I also hope other state governments, through their respective religious departments, could be more effective in coping with this issue teenage pregnancy and baby-dumping which are both on the rise, and at an alarming rate. Our society cannot stand for this matter to remain unresolved and not taken seriously. And since it’s a nationwide problem, it will never be effectively dealt with if just one (out of 13) state government and the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development are the only two institutions that are actually doing something about it.

 

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