Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah has said that the government has no immediate plans to impose a night curfew on children below 18 today (14th March 2019)
Wan Azizah was previously reported to raise the issue that a curfew for children could be in the works to help curb glue sniffing among youths. The government had plans to look into Iceland’s curfew policy for the young.
“After studying the matter, the government is of the view that imposing a night curfew on youths below 18 is not appropriate at the present moment, owing to several factors,” she was reported to have said in Parliament by The Star.
Parents who worked at night and not home to supervise their children at night were one of the reasons she said.
“There are also children who have tuition, religious classes and sports activities, which require them to be out of their homes at night.
“This includes youths above 15 who work to help the family income, as permitted under the International Labour Organisation,” she added.
Another reason she was reported to have told the Dewan Rakyat today is the difference in climate. Malaysia’s comfortable climate and overcrowded cramp homes led to Malaysians youth to prefer to “lepak” outside at night.
“The weather in Iceland is much colder, so the youth there would rather stay indoors at night, compared with Malaysia, where the weather is more conducive, which makes it more comfortable for youth to be out of at night,” she was reported to reply a question if the government did a study to understand the reasons why teenagers choose to stay out at night, during Minister’s Question Time.
Other reason she cited was the lack of recreational areas and other supporting facilities for teenagers in Malaysia.
“The Iceland model is a social movement where curfew monitoring is done by the parents and neighbourhood themselves, with minimal involvement from the government.
“It will be nice to do this in Malaysia. However, the comparisons between Iceland and Malaysia are just too stark, in terms of the number of residents and children,” the women, family and community development minister said.
Some other differences that she noted also was that Malaysia has 9.4 million youth compared to Iceland of only 50,000.
She added that the Iceland government had put in long-term financial investments for the development of recreational infrastructure. On top of that poor families were given USD 330 “leisure card” for each of their children to fund sports, music and drama classes.
The Star reported her saying that the government was looking to introduce drama and self-defence classes for youths in Desa Rejang, Setapak, as part of its consideration to launch pilot projects, involving night curfews at high-risk hotspots.