Malaysia set to open school for pregnant teens
Sep 1, 2010, 10:23 GMT
Kuala Lumpur - A Malaysian state government is set to open the country's first school for pregnant teenagers to try to curb cases of girls abandoning their babies, an official said Wednesday.
The school is the brainchild of Malacca state Chief Minister Mohamad Ali Rastam, who wants teenagers who are having babies out of wedlock to continue their studies without being stigmatized.
The school, named Sekolah Harapan, or School of Hope, was due to open September 16. Its location is currently confidential 'to protect the privacy of the girls.'
With only two weeks to go until the opening day, there was no confirmed enrolment yet, The Star newspaper quoted Rahimin Bani, chief officer of the Malacca Islamic Religious Affairs Department, as saying.
The department has been tasked to run the school.
There has been serious concerns over the rising number of abandoned infants found dead among rubbish, thrown into rivers or left on the street.
Ali pointed out that the majority of the cases involved Muslim Malays, the largest ethnic group in the country. The community is more conservative than the ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities, and abortion is prohibited in Islam.
The establishment of the school is part of Ali's strategy to prevent baby dumpings. He recently caused eyebrows to raise when he encouraged teenagers who wanted to have sex to marry early.