An average of four children goes missing in Malaysia every day, The Star Online reported. The article mentioned more than half of the reported cases (427 cases) were runaways.
The report also indicated that 447 of the cases were girls, whereas 276 were boys. Girls are more likely to be targeted by kidnappers, which pose the added risk of making them rape victims.
Moreover, a New Straits Times report revealed that most of the runaways are aged between 15 to 19 years old, with the youngest being 12. Upon questioning, peer pressure, following their partners, family misunderstanding, and no interest in studies are the common reasons given by the runaways.
Meanwhile, it is plausible to assume parents play the most significant role for runaway children. It’s presumed that rich overprotective parents could drive their children away, because they seek freedom elsewhere. Children would also run away if their parents are too busy making money instead of giving them attention.
Of course, parents can’t be blamed for everything, the report also said it is likely children fall into peer pressure and misbehave, exposing themselves to criminal activities and drugs. Although the national dropout rate declined, it’s still a worrying matter for all parties involved.
Selangor has the highest number of missing children cases, but the state also has the highest population of children in Malaysia. On the other hand, Sabah has a higher number of child population than Johor, but has lesser number of missing children cases.
The Royal Malaysian Police Sexual, Women and Child Investigation (D11) division said parents should not immediately blast their missing child’s information online, as it could risk the safety of the child if it truly is a kidnapping.
The most recent missing case is an eight-year-old boy named Muhammad Zahiruddin Putra Mohd Fauzi. He was reported missing since Monday after leaving his house to play with his friends in Bangi. As of today, search efforts by firemen and police yield no signs of the boy.