Has it been 100 days already since Nurin went missing? I hadn’t realised that until I finally got home and read Jasni’s blog. We had just touched base earlier with Nuraina to meet with four high ranking officials from the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to discuss the NURIN Alert. The meeting had been planned for sometime and I’m sure you will read more about it in Jasni’s and Nuraina’s blogs as well as in the next issue of TELL magazine. I wish to extend my sincerest appreciation to Cik Meme Zainal Rashid, the Director-General of the Social Welfare Department for inviting the Citizens’ For Nurin Alert (CFNA) to meet with her team to discuss how the NURIN Alert could be incorporated into the Child Protection Policy. It was a fruitful meeting and we managed to discuss various aspects of the existing systems that would need to be better coordinated in order for the NURIN Alert to be implemented.
During the meeting it was clear that the Ministry officials had been waiting for us and were keen to hear our views and they too agreed many of the shortcomings in the system that had been made obvious in the search for Nurin Jazlin Jazimin during those crucial days. This included the response from the police, the media’s role and the support given to parents like Jazimin who had to shoulder the burden of finding Nurin alone in those first few days before media attention got the public and police involved. Listening to Jasni having to re-live those painful moments of his younger brother’s lone crusade to find his missing child made us think of Nurin and what she must have suffered through those 28 days. The officials who were listening quietly as Jasni spoke were visibly moved.
This was no discussion about some dry policy. It was not a heated discussion to lay blame on anyone. This was no show of displeasure against the government. What they were listening to was a cry from the heart of an uncle who lost his beloved niece in a most brutal way. This was a man who saw his brother’s anguish, shared in his pain and lent him his quiet strength to cushion the younger man from the crushing blow of discovering Nurin’s crumpled and broken body. Jasni is softspoken with a calm and soothing voice, yet his message was so powerful that it could not be ignored. Nurin would have been alive today if we had all done our part to find her!
Even though she was not with us in that room, we felt her presence. That sweet smiling child was there with us as we spoke of how important it was to have this system in place and why we had named it after her. No one disagreed with us. Indeed there were positive signs of changes had already been put in place since Nurin. The police are now required to act immediately when there is a report of a missing child. The media too are being asked to come out with their role in the Child Protection Police. Rakancop was discussed as a viable channel that could be explored as a means to alert the public when cases of missing children are reported. The role of Citizens for Nurin Alert was also discussed. I believe Jasni will have more information on that soon.
All said and done, it was a good meeting that ended on a warm note. I believe we understood each other better. It was agreed that the NURIN Alert (should the authorities decide to use this name) would be of great help to the police as the community would be mobilised to be on the look out. Not only will this reduce the burden of finding the missing child from the parents and the police, it will also get the community involved in a more coordinated manner. With better coordination, we agreed that we would stand a better chance of finding a missing child alive. The next step would be for the Ministry to spell out the details to be incorporated into the Child Protection Policy and to discuss it’s implementation with the stakeholders concerned. The meeting was adjourned with mutual appreciation of each other’s role in making NURIN Alert a positive contribution towards the safety and protection of children in Malaysia.
And all this because of Nurin. I am sure she knows we did not speak her name in vain today.