Deputy Minister of Women Family and Community Development Hannah Yeoh recently revealed a number of alarming statistics regarding baby dumping and teenage pregnancy in Malaysia. Speaking at the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (22nd October), she was quoted by Astro Awani as saying, "The Malaysian Population and Family Survey that was carried out in 2015 by the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) found that knowledge regarding sexuality and reproductive health is still very low among Malaysian teenagers".
On top of that, it was also revealed that around 4,000 teenage girls under the age of 18 were reported pregnant annually based on the Health Ministry’s statistics. Hannah Yeoh added that 79,302 pregnancies among girls under 18 were reported from 2012 to 2016.
These statistics were revealed in response to Batu Kawan MP Kasthuriaani Patto’s request for the government to state the number of baby dumping cases and how the government plans to address this issue.
As for what the government has planned, Hannah Yeoh stated that they plan to ensure that the safety, health, and well-being of mothers and their babies are defended and that this was also the responsibility of all parties, including parents, schools, the community, religious institutions, the media, state and federal authorities.
According to Free Malaysia Today, it was also revealed that there were 1,075 cases of baby dumping in Malaysia over the past 10 years. Currently, Hannah Yeoh told the daily that the ministry is trying to map the data on baby dumping cases to understand what background these women come from, saying, “If we find most of these cases are happening in low-cost housing scheme, we have to target them. There will be no point in us approaching them online because that will not reach them on the ground. So, mapping of these cases is very important for us to draw up strategies.”
She added that mothers who want to give up their babies, should not be ashamed, saying, “If you are pregnant and don’t want the baby, we want the baby. Don’t kill the baby. Give it up for adoption.”
Hannah Yeoh suggested that mothers who cannot take care of their babies should consider handing them over to OrphanCare Foundation instead of dumping them, assuring that the process is endorsed by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, on top of being confidential so mothers will not fear getting arrested.