KUALA LUMPUR - BABY dumping that causes the child's death will now be classified as murder, an offence which carries the death penalty in Malaysia.
The Malaysian Cabinet made the decision after the media highlighted a spate of newborns being thrown away, in some cases publishing photos of ants crawling over a dead baby and decomposed bodies.
The latest case was a dead baby girl found floating in a sewage tank behind a girls' college hostel in remote Kelantan two days ago. The decomposed body was found by a group of boys playing nearby.
Two more abandoned baby cases were reported that day in Malacca and Kuala Lumpur.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said in a statement on Wednesday that the Cabinet has directed the Home Ministry to classify baby dumping cases as murder or attempted murder if the child dies.
'The government has no choice as such acts were tantamount to baby killing,' she said. Official statistics show that there were 407 cases of abandoned babies from 2005 to last year, and 60 cases so far this year. Of the babies dumped this year, 25 were boys and 21 girls. Fourteen could not be identified due to decomposition, including one mauled by dogs.
Read the full story in Saturday's edition of The Straits Times.
BABIES DUMPED IN MALAYSIA
This year so far: 60 cases
14 babies' gender could not be identified
From 2005 to 2009: 407 cases
This is the only way to bring those responsible for the death of a baby to justice.'
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, adding that the welfare approach had not yielded results