Protect minors during MCO period

The welfare of children should be protected and all rules related to that effect should be adhered to throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.

Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir said the Bar is concerned over a video clip on social media of children who purportedly disobeyed the MCO.

He said while it is okay to give advice to children who flout the MCO, recording and circulating such videos is not proper.

The video showing the children in Kampung Minyak Beku in Batu Pahat being scolded by police for not staying at home made its rounds on social media earlier this week.

The incident, said to have occurred at 2.30pm on April 11, took place after a lance corporal and a corporal on patrol found the children roaming in the village.

In the video, the children are seen crying when told that they will be taken to the police station for disobeying the MCO.

The two-minute 46-second video was reportedly recorded by the corporal and forwarded to the village chief. The video, however, has been posted and widely shared on social media.

“While advice is accepted, taking video clips of the same and circulating it on social media is a transgression of children’s well-being and their rights of not wanting to be photographed or recorded,” said Salim.

He said while it was obvious those responsible had not monitored the children, the situation should not be exacerbated by those who recorded the video.

“From their appearance, it is apparent the children, aged eight to 10, were crying in fear,” said Salim.

He said under the Child Act, the identities of children brought to court must be protected and their faces cannot be exhibited.

“Do the same rules apply in the case of the video recording? While it is not wrong to take pictures of children who are playing football or jogging, the children were being berated and they were scared and crying.”

Johor Police Chief Comm Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said on Tuesday that police would never arrest children but they needed to be creative with young ones in their approach in enforcing the MCO as they are naive.

Ayob had also said police had received a request from the village chief to help monitor their activities in the village.

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