PUTRAJAYA: The Social Welfare Department (SWD) across the country will serve as a one-stop centre to provide protection to teenage mothers and babies before they are sent to their respective centres, says Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh.
She said the move was part of the government’s efforts to provide protection, integrated support and to prioritise the safety of the babies and new mothers to address the recent rampant cases of baby dumping.
“We know there are cases where teens become pregnant, some were being raped by family members or boyfriends.
“They are too young and don’t know what to do, so they can come to any SWD branches or the ministry to get help,“ she told Bernama after chairing a meeting with key stakeholders on the issue of baby dumping here today.
The third meeting involved government agencies and related companies to provide their views and strategies in promoting posters and infographics pertaining to the Kasih 15999 hotline in addressing the issues of teenage pregnancy and baby dumping effectively and holistically.
“By coming up with posters and other materials on preventing teenage pregnancy and baby dumping cases, it is hoped that teens who need help will know how to contact us.
“This is the challenge faced by the ministry because the (sexual) awareness does not match the technology and very savvy teenagers. Our study found that sex education is only taught to Form Three students, but 9% of Form One students are already sexually active,“ she said.
Yeoh said the ministry also held talks with Google to advertise the campaign’s posters on YouTube channel to educate children and teenagers to differentiate between the positive and negative physical contacts or touches.
“We are also in the process of turning the Kasih 15999 hotline as a toll-free line, to enable the community to use it as part of WhatsApp application. In short, we want a responsible society by changing the stigma, way of thinking and culture and increasing the responsibility of parents,“ she said.
“Hence, I really hope for the cooperation of all parties and corporate companies in disseminating the posters on preventing teenage pregnancy campaigns at public places including the washrooms along the highways and airports so that the teenagers who read the posters know that they can seek help by contacting the SWD and the ministry,“ she said. — Bernama