KUALA LUMPUR: A total of six deaths involving children who were accidentally left behind in vehicles have been reported in the country since 2018, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (pix) said most of the victims were left in the vehicles and then forgotten when their parents went to work or attend meetings.
“This year, two cases have been reported, while in 2019 there were two cases, and also two cases in 2018. Although, the number of cases is not large, for the affected parents and guardians, it involves their child’s life.
“As such, the ministry is taking preventive and advocacy intervention measures,” she said to a question by Rubiah Wang (GPS-Kota Samarahan) who wanted to know the ministry’s action to address such incidents.
Siti Zailah said the steps that had been taken included amending Section 31 of the Child Act 2001 in 2016 by, among others, increasing the punishment to provide a maximum imprisonment for 20 years, instead of 10 years, and fine up to RM50,000, from RM20,000 previously, for offenders, while the affected parents were given counselling.
She said the ministry also collaborates with relevant agencies to conduct public awareness programmes on the issue, like through the Family and Children Safety Education Programme (PEKA) and the SMARTSTART premarital programme.
“The Ministry also received feedback from the community and parents which was later discussed with relevant agencies such as the Road Safety Department and the Road Safety Research Institute, and from these discussion, babies baby should not be placed in the seat behind the driver because it is a blind spot, and for the parents, to place their child’s bag in the front seat as a reminder that their child is in the car,“ she added. — Bernama