Media Statement by YB Kelvin Yii:
Both the Federal & State Government should look at setting up more baby hatch services throughout Sarawak to not just protect innocent lives and avoid baby dumping incidence, but also spark a greater need and initiative to educate the public on the risk of teenage pregnancies and other factors that give rise to such an issue.
Public should also be educated on all the available support system so that those involved will not resort to jeopardising an innocent life.
It was very saddening and heart wrenching to hear news and even see pictures of a lifeless new-born baby sprawled on the ground recently in Kuching. Many steps can be done in order to avoid this especially in providing support for unwed mothers, teenage mothers and those affected so that they are not alone when they require the needed help and support.
The hatch service was once available at KPJ Hospital and they used to provide for women to drop their newborn at the facility but is no longer available after the hospital have moved to a new location.
I do hope KPJ and other private healthcare facilities will consider providing a baby hatch once more and the government should look at expanding such facilities to every district in Sarawak.
This is not in any way to encourage teenage pregnancies or pregnancies out of wedlock, but to provide a last resort option to allow mothers who gave birth to illegitimate babies and didn’t wish to keep them, to leave the newborns in a safe place.
Such precious life is then given an opportunity to live and be given proper care, medical checks and medical treatment if needed. Prompt discovery and access to possible medical attention is crucial to ensure the future well-being of abandoned babies.
While i recognise the limitations of baby hatches in eliminating this scourge of society altogether, but it does provide a last resort to protect the interests, rights, and safety of the child. They should not be punished for the mistakes of their parents but given an opportunity to grow up and fulfil their potential in a supportive environment.
The facility should also provide opportunities for mothers or guardians considering abandonment to have informal discussions, if they wish, with nurses or social care staff in full confidentiality. The staff need to be well educated and non-judgemental when talking to the mothers or guardians. They need to have great insight into the needs and issues that surround abandoned babies.
To properly addressed the issue there must be a holistic and integrated approach to educate the community including students on the risk of unwanted pregnancies, teenage pregnancies which is worrying in Sarawak and all their collective responsibilities in addressing such issue in their own community.
The scale and scope of the problem need a holistic solution. So, while education is the first line, a baby hatch does provide a last line of defence per se especially when considering the right to life for the baby.
Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching