Underperformance and dropping out of school are often indications of more serious issues particularly among Malaysian Indian male teenagers. Between 2012 and 2013, the Home Ministry indicated that the number of students involved in violent crimes had risen nearly 50%.86 To teenagers, gangs provide protection, belonging and credibility.
In 2014, 31% of arrests for violent crimes were comprised of Malaysian Indians. In addition, Indian prisoners account for 11% of the youth who are held in prison. Furthermore, it is estimated that about 70% of gang members in the country are Indians
Key Issues & Current Interventions
- Dysfunctional families are a key driver of at-risk children & youth behaviour. Via SEDIC, parent engagement programs have been funded to complement other at-risk children & youth interventions. The Ministry of Youth and Sports initiated Program Angkat dan Upaya (PADU) in 2014, a six-month program targeting at-risk children & youths to develop their strengths through counselling and mentoring. Another initiative, ‘Program Remaja Berwawasan’, a structured camp mooted by the National Blue Ocean Strategy Institute in collaboration with defence and enforcement agencies, is also being carried out aiming to reduce risk factors among youths in Malaysia.
- Avenues thought to be second chances for at-risk youth are fewer than perceived; for example, general entry requirements for many IKBN/ILP courses is the PMR (now PT3) certificate. Youths who drop out earlier or who have disciplinary records would not qualify.
- SEDIC has funded various programs including a flagship effort called ‘Transformasi Holistik Belia Berisiko Tinggi’ which is centred on a skills training institute capable of accommodating 1,000 youths below 18 years old. Additionally, SEDIC has funded sports programs to uplift Indian youths from IB40 families.
Moving Forward: Recommendations & Initiatives
To address the challenge of at-risk children & youth, this Blueprint aims to achieve the following targets. To deliver on the targets, this Blueprint aims to implement the following:
1. Establish a Family Turnaround Initiative (as mentioned in the ‘Addressing Foundations’ chapter)
The Family Turnaround Initiative is a sustained counselling initiative aimed at supporting problematic families in working through dysfunctional behaviours.
2. Ensure sufficient participation in existing at-risk children & youth programs
The Education team of the MIB Implementation Unit will explore collaborations with the Ministry of Youth and Sports as well as other ministries and agencies to fully ‘plug into’ existing at-risk youth programs.
3. Conduct review of Malaysian Indian at-risk children & youth situation and address gaps, including making additional investments
The MIB Implementation Unit will conduct a review to profile Malaysian Indian at-risk children & youths and size the need for different types of interventions and programs.