Kelantan is often perceived by people as a state with a high amount of social issues. But how true is this negative perception?
According to the Country Progress Report on HIV/AIDS 2018 provided by the Ministry of Health, about 10.3% of people with HIV were recorded in Kelantan in 2017, just below Selangor (15.7%) and Johor (15.6%).
The rise in number of HIV cases in Kelantan in 2017 was caused by homosexual and heterosexual activities, which is also the case for other states as shown in Figure 5.
Based on the statistics, the sharing of injecting equipment, particularly for drug-related activities, was the main cause for HIV infections prior to 2011. However, in recent years, homosexual intercourse has become a huge factor for HIV infection. It was also reported that Kelantan recorded the highest rate of new drug addicts in 2017.
According to National Anti-Drug Agency (NADA), 2,822 people started taking the substance in 2017 and another 878 people were repeat drug abusers.
As the numbers in the statistics indicate, there was also an increase among drug addicts in Kelantan in 2018, from 3,179 to 3,336 addicts.
In addition, Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) provides the statistics of rape cases in the country (courtesy of Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM)). Kelantan recorded 96 (6.1%) cases in the year 2017.
Although the number dropped by 14.8% from January to November 2018, State Police Chief Hasanuddin Hasan admitted that the situation was still worrisome as it involved many Malay Muslim teenagers.
However, Kelantan is not listed among the five states (Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Johor and Pahang) with the highest cases of birth of illegitimate children.
On top of that, as of 2009, National Suicide Registry Malaysia recorded the lowest cases of suicide in Kelantan, alongside Perlis with only three cases.
Furthermore, Kelantan is said to be “the state that allows child marriages” ever since the story of a 41-year-old man marrying an 11-year-old girl in Gua Musang made the headlines.
According to the statistics provided by Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (July 19, 2018), between 2013 and 2017, Kelantan recorded 793 child marriages, just below Sarawak (918) and Sabah (793).
It seems like no states in Malaysia are free of social problems, especially Selangor which has recorded the highest HIV and rape cases, but why has the spotlight only been on Kelantan?