Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Press Statement in reply to Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim, Menteri Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat by YB Zuraida

Press Statement in reply to Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim, Menteri Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat by YB Zuraida Kamaruddin, Ketua Wanita PKR

With reference to the statement made by Datuk Rohani published by Bernama dated 13/9/13, she had concurred and defended the police that they had acted within their jurisdiction even though school children from Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Pristina, Sungai Buloh in Selangor were questioned without the consent or presence of their parents.

Act 611, also known as the Child Act (2001) defines a child as a person below the age of 18 and is entitled to protection and assistance in all circumstances without regard to distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, social origin or physical, mental or emotional disabilities or any other status

In Section 17 (2b), it is stated that a child is considered as emotionally injured if there is substantial and observable impairment of the child’s mental or emotional functioning that is evidenced by, amongst other things, a mental or behavioural disorder,including anxiety, depression, withdrawal, aggression or delayed development.

It is therefore my view that the police had acted in a manner which is detrimental to the children's well-being and have therefore subjected these children to undue stress and emotional trauma without first getting the consent of their parents or guardian to produce these children at the police station for any further inquiries into their investigations.

As law enforcers, the police have been rather inconsiderate and have not taken into account the anxiety and shock that the children may encounter while being questioned by the police in a manner which seemed very uncharacteristic, secretive and deceptive.

It is also only right that the children be provided with sufficient protection to the amount of interrogation they were subject to and a right to the presence of a lawyer if necessary. Minors are usually unaware of the consequences of the law and while they have a right to remain silent, the children may not be fully aware of their rights. In this case, the police had taken advantage of the situation instead and infringed on the rights of the children by questioning them without proper precautionary measures.

Datuk Rohani, as the Minister for Women's Development, Family and Community has failed to understand these basic and fundamental rights pertaining to the welfare of these children. Her defense towards the PDRM shows her lack of concern towards women, family and the community. 

I hope that the police will issue an apology to the parents and publicly apologize to the parents of these children and give an assurance to the public that this will never happen again.

YB Zuraida Kamaruddin
Ketua Wanita PKR
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