On reading the article, I congratulate NST for highlighting this much needed system which has been sadly forgotten in the aftermath of Datuk Seri Shahrizat’s loss in the March 2008 political tsunami of a general election. She should not have lost that vote and I hold it against Nurul Izzah for challenging her when Shahrizat had done so much and had more to do. I really don’t care for this personality cult kind of politics when winning is more for personal glory than for the people or the nation. I had actually given up on the initiative seeing the light of day as there was no word on the Child Protection Policy that it was supposed to be tagged onto either. Until I read the NST article below by Tan Choe Choe that is.
However, the question Tan raised on the NURIN Alert for the incoming Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen was actually explained in the other article “A department just for children” when the Minister explained about the CPP. I’ll be happy if the Ministry adopts the AMBER Alert system of finding missing children in whatever shape or form. No matter what they name it, we need a system that can help us find those children fast.:
Authorities still sleeping: Nurin Alert remains just a proposal
By : Tan Choe Choe
KUALA LUMPUR: The much vaunted Nurin Alert is still in limbo — more than a year after the brutal murder of Nurin Jazlin Jazimin.
In fact, it is possible that the Nurin Alert may not see daylight at all. The authorities appear uncertain as to who should handle it.
The Nurin Alert was to have been a mechanism to disseminate information on missing children so that it reaches the public in the shortest time possible and ultimately help locate the children.
It was proposed after the body of Nurin, 8, was found stuffed inside a gym bag on Sept 17, 2007, slightly more than a month after she went missing.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen told the New Sunday Times that the Nurin Alert was not part of the Child Protection Policy to be submitted to the cabinet for approval.
This is in sharp contrast to the statement by her predecessor at the ministry, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, on Jan 20, that the implementation of the Nurin Alert was just a matter of formality and that the system was already in place and working.
“We’ve decided to park the alert system under the Child Protection Policy as one of its components — it’ll be our last module because we’re first looking at more preventive measures,” Shahrizat had said.
That was about four months after the murder of Nurin. The Nurin Alert was mooted by Nurin’s uncle Jasni Abdul Jalil and his group of blogger friends following the tragedy.
Nurin means “Nationwide Urgent Response Information Network” and was modelled after the United States’ Amber Alert.
It was earlier reported that a proposal on the Nurin Alert system had been submitted to Shahrizat. However, Dr Ng said no such proposal had been received by her ministry.
When contacted, Jasni said he had emailed a copy of the proposal to the Welfare Department’s director-general sometime late last year and had subsequently received a note acknowledging receipt of the proposal on Nov 2.
Jasni had told the New Straits Times in September that he wanted the police to take ownership of the system, but the police had said that it was the ministry’s initiative.
Dr Ng, however, said the ministry was not in charge of the alert system and that such a system was related to enforcement work.
Her ministry, she said, was more involved in awareness and advocacy work.
So does this mean that the initiative is not under the ministry anymore?
“I won’t say it’s not under me, but to start the process, it should be inter-agency. It’s not an easy matter,”she said.
“But there is a section in the CPP that suggests that an early warning alert system for missing children should be developed, but with input from government agencies, non-governmental organisations, academicians and, more importantly, the police.”
Madeleine Yong, director of P.S. the Children, said she was not surprised at the state of affairs.
“Looking at the trends over the past years in child rape and murder issues, we have too many suggestions that are knee-jerk reactions.
“We have too many programmes or services created that are ad-hoc.
“We need to have a lot more discussions and strategic planning for this system to be implemented effectively,” said Yong.
“The entire system should be framed around the primary objective — to promote the wellbeing of children — rather than to meet the requirements of organisations or departments,” she added.
For Nurin Alert to be realised, there must be teamwork between the lawmakers, the Women, Dr Ng’s ministry, non-governmental organisations that deal with children, the media, law enforcement officers, social workers, hospitals and the entire community.
The Amber Alert system, Yong said, had a series of strategies to support the authorities and communities to increase the likelihood that abducted children would be recovered swiftly and safely.
One important lesson learned by Amber Alert implementers, she said, was that while it was an outstanding tool, it was ultimately only a tool to help in law enforcement.
“Training and having an investigative plan or strategy are the most important components.
“We need to start with these steps.
“We can have good ideas but the implementation, monitoring and sustainability of a programme or system needs a lot more effort.”
“So am I surprised Nurin Alert didn’t take off? Absolutely not.”