We are inching ever closer towards the dawn of a nanny-state, with the latest proposal from the Minister for Women, Family and Community Development, Rohani Abdul Karim, who wants to make parenting courses compulsory.
Alarmed by the increasing numbers of child abuse cases in Malaysia, she said that forcing prospective parents to attend parenting courses, would reduce child abuse cases and compel parents to act more responsibly.
We already have marriage courses, for prospective couples, but are the courses effective? Has a study been made? Have they helped reduce domestic violence? Have they stopped husbands who cannot cope with the upkeep of one family, leaving their wives for younger models, or irresponsible fathers who do not wish to have a role in the upbringing of their children?
Rohani’s remarks were made after photos of a schoolgirl, in Lagoon Perdana, Bandar Sunway, went viral on social media. The eight-year-old girl’s mother, had chained her to a pillar, for refusing to go to school. The girl has been medically examined and will receive counselling. Was the girl bullied at school?
We have no idea why any mother would want to treat her daughter like an animal. Although investigations are pending, shouldn’t the mother also be subjected to counselling sessions? Is she depressed?
Is she a single mother struggling to bring up her family? Is she a child herself, and has been forced into marriage and premature motherhood? Has she other medical or financial issues that forced her to do this?
Senior civil servants who bring politics into the running of their departments, and whose fingers have been caught in the kitty, have forgotten the code of conduct of their departments. Should they be forced to attend behavioural courses which teach them not to steal from the taxpayer, and to act independently of their political leanings?
There are many politicians, who steal from the taxpayer, ignore the strict ministerial code of conduct and are sexist. Should they be made to attend behavioural courses, to drum into them, that they are to serve the interests of the nation, and not their own interests?
Whilst they are at it, they may want to be enrolled in the basic course of being a good leader, and learn about accountability, responsibility and transparency, when discharging their duties.
Muslim children attend religious classes, whilst non-Muslim children attend moral classes. What is wrong with both Muslim and non-Muslim children attending a Religious Knowledge class, which teaches all children to respect people of other faiths and recognise the sensitivities of other religions. All children should attend moral classes and learn about being a good citizen, their civic duty and being a compassionate human being, irrespective of racial or religious inclinations.
Muslim women don’t need to be sent on a government course to teach them how to behave. They are continually harangued, from their choice of degree subject, their role in society, the dress code and their choice of profession. Perhaps, Muslim men should be sent on courses to make them more responsible adults, husbands, and fathers.
The recent budget has seen a decrease in funding for many departments. Where is Rohani going to find the money for her parenting courses?
Perhaps, the parenting course is another exercise in making money, for the government. In that case, the number of would-be courses could be endless. Why not courses on how to cater for the needs of the husband, so he does not stray from home?
Courses on simple cooking and taking care of the household, will show prospective couples, all about manageable living in a modern household.
We cannot discriminate against senior citizens. Will there be courses on how to take care of the elderly instead of abandoning them, or leaving them in a care home?
Caring-for-baby courses could be made part of the school curriculum. Teenagers will soon learn that being responsible for the welfare of the baby, is not the same as playing with a baby doll.
It may not dawn on sexually active teenagers, that having sex without taking precautions, will lead to parenthood and the accompanying responsibilities. If that were the case, wouldn’t it be simple to have proper sex education lessons in school?
Source : Mariam Mokhtar@The Heat Malaysia Online