Our children, the gems of our nation

09 Dec 2022 09:15am
Eight-year old Muhammad Danish Rayqal Mohd Firdaus awarded the Hang Tuah Medal at the National Children's Day ceremony in Kuala Lumpur - BERNAMA
Eight-year old Muhammad Danish Rayqal Mohd Firdaus awarded the Hang Tuah Medal at the National Children's Day ceremony in Kuala Lumpur - BERNAMA
KUALA LUMPUR - Eight-year old Muhammad Danish Rayqal Mohd Firdaus showed extraordinary courage when he risked his life to save his siblings who were trapped in a fire on June 29. He received the Hang Tuah Medal for bravery.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail presented the award to Muhammad Danish Rayqal at the 2022 National Children's Day celebration organised by the Social Welfare Department (JKM) on Nov 27.

The medal is awarded in recognition of children who showed outstanding acts of bravery, such as saving lives and property during an emergency, disaster or accidents.

Despite losing his spectacles during the fire, the Year Two student from Kebangsaan Taman Kampung Melayu Kluang (Johor) who is short-sighted, was determined to save his two siblings - Muhamad Darish Rizqe, 6, and Nurdiya Delisha, 4, - by carrying them on his back from the living room to the kitchen before calling out for help. All three were later rescued by neighbours.

During the blaze which broke out at their home in Jalan Mohd Salim Kampung Melayu, Kluang, both parents were out for work.

The social media was abuzz with news of the young boy’s heroic act, with praises from netizens who also hailed the creation of the award for children. For some, it has been ages since they last heard of the Hang Tuah Medal Award during Children’s Day celebrations.

According to JKM Director General, Datuk Sharuddin Abu Sohot, the Hang Tuah Medal is awarded in recognition of children who are regarded as gems of the nation for their outstanding bravery.

"There were some who thought this award has somewhat disappeared from the radar’, but in actual fact, 23 children have so far received this award since its inception in the 1960’s including Muhammad Danish Rayqal,” he told Bernama during an interview in conjunction with the 2022 National Children's Day celebration at JKM headquarters in Putrajaya recently.

He said every State/Federal Territory JKM has to identify and submit only the best candidate, either boy or girl for assessment and selection at the national level.
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"The Director General of Social Welfare will appoint an Award Selection Committee to review all candidates to make sure they meet the eligibility requirements. The committee is tasked with receiving, assessing and selecting candidates based on its evaluation criteria and scoring system.

"Candidates must be Malaysians regardless of race. It is open to all children in the country, age between seven to 18 years old. Nominations must be based on incidents which showed their courage in saving lives and that they have not been involved in cases related to crime, misconduct and immoral act,” he added.

The Hang Tuah Medal Award is among the events on the itinerary of this year’s Children’s Day celebration themed ‘Inclusion and Diversity for Every Child’.

According to Shaharuddin, JKM is committed to organising Children’s Day celebrations since taking over the responsibility in 1965 noting that children are the department’s target group.

Starting June 7, JKM has implemented various programmes and activities nationwide in conjunction with the celebration, both face-to-face and via virtual platforms.

Among them, Khalifah Junior Contest, which were supported by other competitions such as Seni Khat Khalifah Junior, Pidato Dakwah Khalifah Junior, Cerita Kisah Al-Quran Khalifah Junior, Pemuda Al Amin and Qasidah Khalifah Junior.

"In addition, the Junior Skills Challenge was also introduced this year, drawing participation from five children’s institutes in the sewing field under JKM. This competition aims to inculcate the competitive spirit among children who are skilled in their respective fields,” he added.

Others include Team Empowerment in conjunction with the 2022 National Children Delegates event, Khalifah Junior Travel, Jom Baca in conjunction with the National Reading Decade campaign (jointly with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka), Pekerti Nurani Campaign (Campaign against Sexual Harassment and Bullying cases in Children’s Educational Institutes) Jelajah Kasih Kanak-Kanak Prihatin Rakyat, Malam Kanak-Kanak Berselawat and 2022 National Children Delegates Conference.

Besides the Hang Tuah Medal Award, JKM has also introduced the Most Active Children Activity Centre (PAKK) Award in 2022 in recognition of PAKK’s role in providing support services to children.

According to Shaharuddin, PAKK’s function is to conduct activities or programmes and support services that are geared toward prevention, protection, development and participation of children, with the official launch of the 2022 National Children’s Day as the highlight.

On Dr Wan Azizah’s call at the launch of the 2022 Children’s Day celebration that the event be used as an effective starting point to acknowledge, promote and celebrate children's rights, Shaharuddin said JKM recognises the importance of embracing inclusion and diversity for children in Malaysia for their present and future well-being.

He said the term ‘inclusion’ as the theme of the 2022 Children’s Day celebration means respecting and appreciating what makes people from various backgrounds different.

‘Diversity’ is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another.

"Hence, the theme ‘Inclusion and Diversity for Every Child’ means appreciating, respecting and understanding the differences, including the special needs and rights of every child.

"At the same time, Malaysia is also known to the world for its unique and diverse culture, a glorious melting pot of traditions and practices spanning generations,” he said.

Shaharuddin said child protection efforts would not be realised without the participation from all quarters, noting that both the corporate sector should work hand in glove with voluntary organisations to ensure those in need of support or assistance are protected.

"The family as the key institution should play an effective role in guiding and teaching children to be more responsible, more cautious and more resilient in dealing with challenges.

"The family should also provide an environment which is safe and free from all forms of violence. The community should also come forward to address the problem as children are always sending warning signs of child abuse as well as their living environment,” he added. - BERNAMA