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Monday, May 3, 2010

Students laud move to make teenagers get home at prescribed hour

PETALING JAYA: Several secondary school students have lauded the suggestion to impose a national curfew for teenagers in an effort to curb juvenile crime and to keep youths safe.
Most students admitted that they had friends who regularly loitered atmamak stalls, cyber cafes and friends’ homes until way past midnight.
However, a former Suhakam commissioner is against the idea, pointing out that any kind of curfew infringed on human rights.
Low Pau Ling, 16, said it was inappropriate for schoolchildren to “hang out” until the wee hours of the morning especially on a school night.
“They might mix around with the wrong crowd like gangsters and invite trouble for themselves and their families,” the Form 4 student said yesterday.
The Sunday Star frontpaged the phenomenon of teens staying out till the wee hours of the morning, with certain quarters calling for the implementation of a national curfew to safeguard the children as practised in Japan, Britain, Iceland, Germany and Singapore.
Another teenager said some youths fall prey to peer pressure more easily than others.
Edmund Teh, 16, said curfew was a good idea to keep secondary schoolgoers out of harm’s way.
“I think the curfew should be set at 10.30pm. I admit I do stay out late at night but I always tell my parents where I’m going,” he said.
Nicole Tan feels that a curfew was necessary as some students would flout the law if they could.
“Some kids won’t follow the law. The parents must also stop them from often going out late at night,” said the Form 4 student.
However, former Suhakam commissioner Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria said the idea of instituting a national curfew was “too simplistic” a solution.
He said selective curfews tended to take away the parents’ responsibility toward their children and did not treat young people in a mature way.
“Any kind of an imposition of a curfew infringes on human rights and impacts on the family structure.
“Parents should be the people responsible for their own children. It is not for the state to replace the parent’s role,” he said.


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