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COMMENT | What true Keluarga Malaysia means and looks like for our children

COMMENT | World Children’s Day, celebrated on Nov 20 each year, is aimed at a better future for every child. Our Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob recently gave a public address on the issue.

We, as child advocates, would like to offer a response and highlight the key areas where we need to support our children. Our prime minister spoke eloquently about how “in all actions concerning children… the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration”.

He was quoting Article 12, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989. However, the reality on the ground denies these nice words and has often worsened over time.

Kindly allow us to outline the key areas that require urgent attention for our children. If even 10 percent of these areas are addressed in the next two years, it would be a miracle as they have been languishing for decades.

1. Supporting children who live in poverty

The new poverty line income (PLI), revised from RM980 to RM2,280, revealed that approximately 400,000 households (~1.2 million children) were living in poverty prior to Covid-19.

The worsening conditions due to Covid-19 has pushed another 8-10 percent of the population into poverty. Currently, conservative estimates suggest that 3-4 million children live in poverty in Malaysia...

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