The lack of family stability is found to be at the core of several significant issues covered in this Blueprint such as educational attainment, at-risk youth and crime. Dysfunction includes domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse, gang related activities and others, which contribute to wastage in adult capability as well as educational underachievement in children.
Key Issues & Current Interventions
- Outreach to Malaysian Indian families is currently limited compared to the past when there were more Indian/ Tamil-speaking officers and more targeted family planning programs in the estates. Those who are reached are also often resistant to assistance due to lack of trust, cultural incompatibility or shame.
- Acculturation of certain issues, particularly high alcohol consumption, which is seen as common practice. An estimated 11.2% of Indians above 18 years old are ‘current drinkers’, 62.5% of whom are categorised as ‘binge drinkers’.
- Locally based trained caseworkers need to be assigned to identify families to build trust and to institute a systematic turnaround program. Also awareness on the role of the family in perpetuating Malaysian Indian community issues needs to be increased.
Moving Forward: Recommendations & Initiatives
To deliver on the targets, the MIB aims to effect the following:
1. Pilot and roll out a Family Turnaround program
Tackle multiple family issues via hand-holding and family skills building to achieve several key targets such as educational attendance, productive employment, violence avoidance and others.
2. Establish a ‘Family First’ campaign and support platform
Seeks to create desire for change within troubled families and the general Malaysian Indian community, particularly against ‘normalised’ dysfunctions such as regular alcohol overconsumption and violence.