Masing mulls NZ system to discipline children
Sarawak Tribune - Friday, 4 April 2003

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By Samuel Aubrey

KUCHING - The Social Development and Urbanisation Ministry is looking into the possibility of implementing in Sarawak a communal enforcement system currently practised in New Zealand, whereby the leader of a family has the say in deciding the punishment for a delinquent in his or her family.

Its Minister, Datuk Sri James Jemut Masing said yesterday that the success rate of this system is very impressive, with a success rate of 90 percent.

"The system is such that the young fear their elders, and this resulted in minimizing social ills," he said.

He explained that the NZ system, modeled by the set of ethics of the native Maoris, resembles the Native Courts practised here, but with better enforcing powers.

"Through this system, the family head can punish the delinquent or handing him or her to the police. An appointed facilitator will help them make the decision," he said.

He admitted that the proposed system would take some time to implement, as it would involve a major shift of mindset among the locals. He acknowledged that social ills involving glue-sniffing, petty thefts and ecstasy pills abuse are on the rise but still under control.

"At the moment, some families are so laidback that they somehow encourage delinquents in their families. The families have instead become Pusat Latihan Pencuri," he jested.

Masing said this during a reception for a visiting delegation from Sabah Ministry of Youth and Sports at his office in Masja building yesterday.

The delegation, led by its minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, ended their a three day official visit here.