|This photo taken on July 16, 2010 shows a tourist walking through a bar decorated with baloons for the weekend in Kuala Lumpur. AFP|
KUALA LUMPUR, July 26, 2010 (AFP) - A Malaysian state is considering establishing a school for pregnant teenagers, to curb an alarming epidemic of "baby dumping", a report said Monday.
The chief minister of Malacca state, Mohamad Ali Rustam, said according to the New Straits Times that the school was among strategies including encouraging pregnant girls to marry.
Only married teens will be allowed to attend the school.
"For unmarried teenagers, they also can be part of the school but with one condition -- they must marry the baby's father," Ali said.
Authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia are grappling with the problem of rising numbers of abandoned infants, often dumped dead or dying in the streets or on rubbish dumps.
"This problem has become a disease of sorts. We cannot just turn our backs and think that this is not our problem," Ali said according to the English-language daily.
"Baby dumping cases usually happen among the Muslim community as teenagers were desperate to conceal their pregnancies. Some of the girls were also disowned by their families," he said.
"They do not perform abortions as this is prohibited in Islam. So, they take the shortcut to solve their problem by dumping their newborns. We do not want this to continue. It has to be stopped."
The chief minister said Malacca was considering establishing a special school for pregnant girls to encourage them to continue with their education and to protect their unborn children.
"In the event normal schools cannot accept pregnant girls, we are going to build a school just for them," he reportedly said, adding that youngsters from other states could also attend.
"This school will cater to those who are legitimately married."