Fatimah Abdullah

KUCHING: Whenever they are facing problems at home, youths are advised not to make decisions based on their emotions.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah reminded the youths to remain calm and not to simply run away from home if they had problems or quarrelled with their families.

Fatimah raised concern over the matter as many Sarawakian children had left their homes and never returned.

Citing the “Missing Person Portal”, she said there are 54 cases of Sarawakian children below the age of 18 reported missing since 2015 till April this year.

Fatimah Abdullahfatimah

“From the figures, those below the age of 12 were all found with one dead.

“Those aged between15 and 18 made up the largest group who left but returned home,” she said, adding that the figure could include some who had already returned home but their parents did not inform the police.

Fatimah also said some children ran away from their homes because of family conflicts or peer influence. Others followed their boyfriends, dropped out of schools or followed their friends who promised them jobs.

“Whenever there are conflicts at home, the children must calm down. And parents must not worsen the situations by saying hurtful things,” she advised.

Faatimah said what was most worrying were “predators” with evil intentions who took advantage of these vulnerable youths.

“That is why there are rape cases, human trafficking and girls forced into prostitution,” she pointed out.