Sometimes, it seems like being a working parent is ridiculously hard.
In Malaysia, the odds feel stacked even higher against them. On top of the ever-present guilt of leaving their young children in others’ care, working parents in Malaysia have been haunted by the many cases involving less-than-ethical, far-from-safe childcare providers, resulting in very young children being hurt, harmed, or worse, dead.
Earning money to provide for one’s family shouldn’t be the source of a parent’s nightmare.
While it has taken the federal government regrettably long to take action against untrained and unregistered childcare providers, the first of many reforms for childcare initiated by the Deputy Minister for Women, Family and Community Development has finally taken place: As of April 2019, a new registry of child sex offenders has been launched, listing cases registered within the police and courts systems from 2017 to February 2019.
Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh at the recent launch of the registry of child sex offenders
This is the first of several phases in Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh’s promise to improve the state of childcare and the safety of children in such systems. The establishment of a child sex offenders registry involved the amendment of the Child Act, leading to more stringent screening of those involved in childcare. Subsequent stages will see the screening of more roles related to the industry, including security guards, school bus drivers, religious institutions, and tuition teachers.
This new service has been made especially easy for employers, where all that is required for the screening is for them to provide the identity card number of the potential employer, to identify whether they have a record in the Child Registry. The next step for the Ministry is to amend the Children Act 2001 to allow for tighter regulations surrounding the care and safety of children.
However, even with this new screening method in place, Yeoh admits that vigilance is a necessity. Most of the child sex offenders charged in recent years were first-time offenders, and while the screening system currently in place is meant to be a deterrent, it is just one of various precautions parents can take.
Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh with the founder of Verity Intelligence, Mark Leow, at the recent launch of the registry of child sex offenders
In the meantime, Malaysian parents should continue to demand more from the authorities—more vigilance, more security, and more screening. A child sex offender registry is a strong first step, but as it currently exists, cannot provide a comprehensive screening system while it does not take into account mental health, criminal history, and court cases. Screening is a far more sophisticated tool, and should be employed as such.
To find out more about how screening can protect your family, visit www.verityintel.com.