MARANG, Feb 21 (Bernama) -- Diversion, an intervention programme by the Women, Family and Community Ministry (KPWKM) to tackle social problems among children, will be implemented in August this year.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the guidelines for the programme are in the final stages and expected to be finalised by March.
“Under this model, children charged with minor crimes will not be detained and will not have a recorded offence,” she said in her speech at Sekolah Tunas Bakti (Perempuan) Marang, here today.
She said the module of the programme would comprise counselling, community service, paying compensation or repairing the damage that had been committed.
“Sometimes, from a psychological point of view, the negative effects faced by children who go through the justice process because of a small offence are worse than the offence itself. So, an initiative must be implemented as an alternative rehabilitation method,” she said.
Also present were Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Raja Ahmad and chairman of the state Welfare, Women and Family Development, and National Unity Committee, Hanafiah Mat.
Wan Azizah who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister said the matter was discussed in a Cabinet meeting and the decision to implement the Diversion system was crucial to avoid contact with serious crime offenders.
She said this contact could have a negative effect on the children.
“We worry that the serious crime offenders will ‘open the way’ for them to continue with their offences after they are released,” she said.
She added that the Diversion programme was also a way to reduce the statistics of children’s involvement in crime in the country which was worrying and increasing each year.
"According to statistics from the Social Welfare Department, in 2016, there were 4,886 reported cases, and this increased by 11.7 per cent in 2017 to 5,146.
“Of this total, the highest number of offences were related to drugs, at 36.4 per cent, followed by property at 31.2 per cent,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr Wan Azizah said the ministry had approved RM10 million to upgrade 17 children’s institutions under the Social Welfare Department throughout the country, in line with the Third Strategic Thrust of the 11th Malaysia Plan.
“The upgrading work began last year until 2020, covering infrastructure development, equipment and capital assets, maintenance of machinery and equipment, training and development of modules and capacity,” she said.
During the visit, Wan Azizah spent about 20 minutes interacting with 54 occupants of the school.