KUALA LUMPUR: The Child Act (Amendment) Bill 2015 which was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat today once passed will forbid caning of minors convicted of criminal offences.
Presently this is left to the discretion of the court.
The new bill also calls for heavier punishment on neglectful parents and caregivers.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said the ministry viewed seriously negligence in the care of children and with the legislation, parents and caregivers would have to face the music for their irresponsibility.
“This is a preventive measure so that neglect or abuse of children no longer happens,” she told reporters at Parliament’s lobby.
According to her, once passsed, punishment under Section 31 of the Child Act 2001 will be increased, with maximum fine from RM20,000 to RM50,000 and maximum imprisonment from 10 to 20 years.
Rohani, who had tabled the bill in the Dewan Rakyat earlier, said the legislation also introduces Community Service, applicable to children who commit crimes and adults convicted of child abuse or negligence.
“This is a rehabilitative punishment entailing community work, counseling and programes on repentence and proper parenting,” she said.
Also given attention were emplacement of children in foster homes, protection and rehabilitation of children who are victims of child abuse, negligence or beyond control, said the MP for Batu Lupar.
According to her, the responsibility to enforce the new legislation would be in the hands of the Welfare Department, Police and the Prisons Department.