Wanting freedom tops list as cause for teen runaways

ARFA YUNUS, FERNANDO FONG AND BEATRICE NITA JAY

KUALA LUMPUR: A staggering 4,188 runaway teens from year 2013 to 2016 was reported to have left home in order to seek for their freedom.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Masir Kujat said among other reasons given by teenagers to justify their act were peer pressure (1,330), following their partners (1025), family misunderstanding (715), and no interest in studies (150).

Masir said as of 2016, the number of teenagers who ran away from home stood at 1,803, with 824 still missing.

“It comes down to the attention given by parents. Parents need to give more attention to their children and their movements. They need to be aware if their children are associating themselves with strangers,” he said, answering a question posed by Dr Izani Husin (Pengkalan Chepa-Pas) at the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.

He also said if this issue was not taken seriously, it may lead to an increase in social illness and also human trafficking cases.

“The ministry has conducted various activities with the cooperation of police, non-governmental organisations, schools and parents to raise awareness on the issue of runaway teens.

“Through the child awareness campaign conducted, we also held talks for parents to enlighten them on the reasons their child may resort to running away from home,” he said.

He added that parents need to play an active role in their children’s life or they could be exposed to various dangers and risks as runaways. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd