By Siti Kassim

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--I know I said before that the children are not to be blamed and fault lies squarely with the parents.

But I have been thinking more deeply about this and as a parent, I know it is not easy to be a parent or parents.

I still believe the children are not to be blamed but I also think now that it is easy to find faults with the parents when life is not that simple.

I've read this article wherein it indicates that the parents of the children could be charged under the Child Act 2001, Section 31(1)(a).

With the greatest respect to the lawyer's opinion, I feel if the prosecution mount an action against the parents, it will be an uphill battle.

Let's see what it says in the section:

“If those who are responsible for the care of a child, abandon, neglects or exposes the said child to danger so as to cause him/her physical or emotional injury, then it is an offence under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act 2001.”

The elements that need to be proven:

1. Did the parents abandon the children?

2. Did the parents neglect the children?

3. Did the parents exposed the children to danger?

These are the elements the prosecution need to establish against the parents. In my opinion, it is hard for the prosecution to establish that the children were abandoned, neglected or even exposed them to danger.

The parents may have thought the children were safely in their bed and teenagers being teenagers, they do what they want even behind their parents' back or knowledge.

We've heard of children getting into gangsterism, take drugs, creeping out in the wee hours to join their friends etc. Do we still blame the parents when what their children do is out of their knowledge nor control.

Indeed, the children should not be where they were at that time but is it the failing of their parents? It is hard being a parent and if you are lucky, you will get a good filial child.

But not all parents are lucky to have the money nor resources to keep their children occupied.

I believe it is a combination of failures by society, system and governance in giving the right kind of education, for not providing enough stimulus, places for these children to release their energy into something more useful.

Why don't our government build parks where these kids can go and play to their hearts desire. Just like in some countries, they have skateboarding parks for them to play.

Please don't get emotional and mix the issues. This is my opinion alone and you can disagree with it.

*Siti Kassim is a Malaysian Lawyer and prominent human rights activist.*