Children Living in Remote Areas

Proposer:

CSO Platform For Reform – Child Cluster

Affiliations:

Child Rights Coalition Malaysia (CRCM)

Policy Code:

2e Child

Problem Statement / Issue:

1. Poor or no access to basic services hinder live opportunities for children in remote areas;
increases the poverty they experience and widens the gap between them and children in
other locations. Consequently children are being left behind.
2. School attendance can involve long, costly, journeys. Likewise medical care, with the nearest
facility often beyond the 5 and 9 km markers used in government statistics and when
reached only offering minimal treatments sometimes with no doctor in attendance.
3. Tapped water supply and electricity remains a problem for significant numbers and few have
internet connectivity.
4. These children are often natives of Sarawak and Sabah and Orang Asli in Semenanjung, all
having their own strong, unique, indigenous cultures which need to be understood and
honoured by service providers in addition to the practical issues distance creates.
Disregarding these factors have led to some children being denied ICs which then
disadvantages them for life.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

When formulating any policy impacting children in remote areas, to ensure implementing services
are apt and resourced to be inclusive and culturally sensitive and aim to reach the children in situ
and where this is not feasible to enable assistance with costs incurred in accessing services.

Proposal of Solution and Call to Action:

1. Develop structures to create empowering partnerships with remote communities to
produce workable solutions e.g. provide preschool at village level by training local people;
build supportive, informative networks for children with special needs in their village and
nearest schools.
2. Ring-fence financing to ensure budgets are protected which provide the necessary travelling
and training costs so service providers and key members in the community can jointly
develop services.
3. Provide affordable and safe transport for children in remote areas to school.
4. Accelerate internet connectivity and use it to link people to services.
5. Assist children who have not been able to access online classes so they are not left behind.
Follow-up with those who do not return to school after the pandemic.
6. Allow all children in remote areas to attend school while their citizenship status is clarified
through collaborative action between the community leaders; the school and JPN.
7. Bring indigenous culture and knowledge into the classroom to increase interest, self-esteem
and unity. Use the internet to link rural and urban children so knowledge of contrasting
environments is shared, building mutual respect and broadening horizons.
8. Disaggregate data to track what is happening to children from different indigenous
communities.

Translation

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