Imposing curfew on teens would only mask deeper problems

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Children after school - Puteri Nur Syuhada Abdul Rahman/Unicef report

Clamping a curfew on the young while the adults remain anchored in a misguided value system will only bury us deeper in a rot, writes JD Lovrenciear.

Lately, we have heard talk about imposing a curfew on those below 18. That would be a knee-jerk attempt to tackle a social value system that is now in free fall.

Although rational minds dictate that teens have no business to be frolicking under the cover of darkness, we need to come to terms with reality. While politicians may rationalise that taking the young off the streets at night would save them from the sins of temptations, we need to own up to what really makes our young citizens so vulnerable.

We have compulsory prayer obligations. We have compulsory religious classes nationwide. We have rules about modesty. We have outnumbered many nations in the ratio of number of places of worship and prayer relative to population size.

Yet today we are at a crossroads debating whether a curfew will save our young from the perils of sin and temptation.

The root cause of our present predicament is the national failure to build a society based on cherished values.

We have spawned generations of citizens who have thrived on corruption – both by commission and omission

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We have chased after ‘development’ based on a model that defines success by skyscrapers and gleaming cityscapes with all the trappings of modernity, fun and pleasure. We have chased after tourist dollars by making cities a hive of nightlife.

We have chased after productivity, believing that working long hours away from home is a mark of commitment and success.

We have peddled a materialistic society devoid of values.

We have taken away public parks, open spaces and healthy playgrounds in the name of making more money and profits.

We have not made school life for pupils any better. Many of our tertiary students want to get by through cut-and-paste efforts while universities are caught in a race to be profitable by whatever means it takes.

All that chasing after ‘developed nation’ status has been at the expense of building a united nation of folks who uphold values above the obsession with “what-is-in-it-for-me”.

So the problems plaguing our young are not of their own making. It is the result of six decades of national neglect arising from all kinds of knee-jerk attempts to look good on paper.

Religious piety has not delivered. What have BTN (National Civics Bureau) programmes achieved? Divisive politicking, based on race and religion, has eroded the cohesion that should bind society.

Our national piecemeal approach to problems merely shields deep undercurrents of corrupt behaviour, which have eroded the value system we had before independence.

Clamping a curfew on the young while adults remain unrestrained, enriched and anchored in a misguided value system will only bury us deeper in the rot that now plagues our society.

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Johan Khun Pana
Johan Khun Pana

Maybe the solution and the problem lies with the Malaysian education system.
Imposing a curfew is a good idea but not ideal.
When a DPM agrees that a 13 year girl girl is good enough to enter a marriage therefore her proposal cannot be taken seriously.