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IPOH: GREATER emphasis must be given to the role of the family institution, not only in tackling social ills besetting teenagers but also in national development.

Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said many factors were the cause of the rise in social ills in the country, such as lack of parental supervision, lack of moral education and urbanisation.

He said there was an urgent need to address the issue of social ills among youths, especially teenagers.

“Looking at the numerous social ills besetting our nation, it is becoming more evident that the role of the family institution needs to be given greater emphasis in addressing these problems,” he said when met at SK St Michael’s 1 here yesterday, where he was invited to address Open University Malaysia’s Learning Is Fun programme.

“What is most fundamental is to strengthen the family institution as the core of a healthy and stable society in the fight against social and moral decay.”

Lee, who is also the university’s board of directors chairman, is an alumni of St Michael’s Institution here.

He cited police figures that showed an increase in juvenile crimes from 2,658 cases in 2012 to 6,184 cases last year. Crime rate among school students increased from 1,042 cases in 2012 to 1,632 cases last year.

Stressing that moral decay was caused by the erosion of moral and ethical values, he said the problem could not be overcome by just laws and regulations but, more impor tantly, by upgrading the quality of family life with emphasis on discipline and good moral behaviour. He added that parents should instil basic moral values in their children since young.

“My view has always been that economic growth must be balanced by social and moral development, for I believe the yardstick to growth is a balance between the two.

“It is pointless to have dynamic economic growth with improved living standards and per capita income when moral values, quality of life and family development do not grow proportionately.”

Lee said family development and empowerment were essential in the upbringing of children, nurturing them to grow up as useful citizens to take on the challenges of nation-building.

He stressed that if the nation’s social and moral issues were not effectively addressed, the country and its people would encounter major and serious obstacles in achieving Vision 2020.

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