By Chandra Devi Renganayar and Tan Choe Choe
KUALA LUMPUR: Continuing to blow hot and cold over the introduction of sex education as a subject in schools is no longer acceptable for many reasons. These include: babies abandoned and left to die, promiscuity at a young age and a lack of knowledge of basic facts on sex. The appalling results of a recent survey underscored the depth of ignorance among youths.
Malaysians fared the worst in a survey made available to the New Sunday Times on sex-related issues conducted across Southeast Asia recently.
A majority of women aged between 16 and 24, believed, among other things, that sexual intercourse during menstruation would not lead to pregnancy, wearing brassieres could cause breast cancer and that they could enlarge their breasts by merely touching them.
According to the survey commissioned by a personal care company, most Malaysian women were confident that riding a bicycle would cause them to lose their virginity.
At the same time, cases of abandoned babies are on the rise. On Friday, a newborn’s body was found in the toilet of a driving school in Segamat, Johor. Sexual activity and experimentation is also starting at a younger age.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Senator Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said yesterday she would push for the introduction of sex education in schools.
“It has to be speeded up. We had submitted the proposed curriculum to the Education Ministry several years ago. We must not sweep the issue under the carpet because we are shy. This cannot be delayed any more.”
In 2006, it was reported that the government had finalised a 160-page guideline on the subject, covering issues such as what kind of touching is allowed, teenage crushes, contraception and the dangers of online sexual predators. But it has not been introduced to date.
Last year, Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom had said there were no plans to introduce sex education as a subject as it was already covered in subjects such as Biology, Moral and Islamic Studies.