Laws to hold parents liable

KOTA BARU: Police are looking at new and broader anti-social laws to hold various parties, including parents and traders, accountable for juvenile crimes.

Among other things, the laws will cover acts of vandalism, gambling, smoking, improper public conduct, truancy, an age limit for entry into entertainment outlets, and abuse of online and wireless applications.

Based on the latest statistics, some 10,000 youths and 4,000 schoolchildren were caught for various crimes and vice activities last year.

Although the crimes form less than 5% of the national crime index, the growing involvement of youths in crime is cause for concern, said Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan.

Musa said that while Malaysia had a Child Act in which parents were held accountable for their children’s behaviour, it was not enforced comprehensively by welfare authorities.

He said the new laws would allow police to book entertainment outlet operators if underaged patrons were found in their premises.

The laws would also allow police to arrest traders who sold cigarettes to underage children, he said.

He said truancy was becoming rampant and police could not check everyone. He added that the community did not see the urgency in tackling the problem.

The laws should give police the powers to effectively clamp down on juvenile crime, which was on the rise, he said.

We discussed with a deputy minister recently and a study is being made on this matter, he told reporters here.

Musa was part of a six-member panel to discuss the findings of a Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) research study on anti-social behaviour among youths in Kelantan.

Others in the panel were state Youth Committee chairman Dr Fatah Mahmood, state economic planning unit deputy director Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Jaafar, deputy mufti Datuk Mohd Shukri Mohamad, state education director Ismail Md Noor and USM academician Siti Hawa Ali.

On illegal racing, Musa said the police and the Youth and Sports Ministry had agreed that more motor-racing circuits should be built throughout the country to meet the growing desire among youths for racing.