KUALA LUMPUR: The government has decided not to proceed with its plan to impose a curfew on those below 18 years of age, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail announced today.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the decision was made after a study was conducted by the government, and takes into consideration all factors affecting the parents and children.
“The government is of the opinion that the curfew on children and teenagers under 18 at night is not suitable to be implemented at the moment, for a number of reasons.
“For one, some parents may be working at night and may not be at home to monitor and take note of where their children are going. There are also children who go out at night for tuition, sports and religious activities.
“Then, there are teenagers who take up part time jobs at night to help their families, as permitted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) for children above 15-years-old,” she told the Dewan Rakyat, here today.
Wan Azizah added that parents have to play a more prominent role in monitoring their children at all times, and that this responsibility should not be placed solely on the shoulders of the government.
She was responding a question from Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew (PH-Wangsa Maju) on whether the government had made a decision on the curfew proposal that was mooted earlier this year, and the justifications behind the decision.
Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, had in January said the government was seriously considering emulating Iceland by imposing a curfew on those under 18 in a bid to curb social ills.
The measure, she said, would have included setting a time limit for the children to be out of the house without adult supervision.
On a supplementary question if immoral activities such as gangsterism had any links with being out at night, Wan Azizah dismissed that suggestion, claiming there were no direct links to indicate as such.
Instead, she said many children tended to be out of their houses at night, especially those living in densely-populated low-cost housing, to look for more pleasant places to hang out.
“Also, unlike countries like Iceland, which have colder weathers, people there tend to stay home to keep warm. Compared to the warmth of Malaysia, the weather is much better at night. Maybe this is why the children feel more comfortable to go out then,” she said.