Make Sex Education Compulsory in Malaysia

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Demands of the Petition

  • To make sex education compulsory for government schools
  • The MoE to create a set and updated curriculum for all government schools to follow for their sex education classes OR to use UNESCO’s proposed sex education curriculum

The Curriculum Should Cover (not exclusively)

  • The importance/value of consent in sex.
  • Place equal emphasis on the psychological and emotional aspects of sex along with the biological understanding of it.
  • To dismantle stigmas/myths/misconceptions regarding sex in sex education classes.
  • Contraceptives, as well as the benefits and consequences of using them

The curriculum should clearly teach children what consent is and what it is not. It should also highlight the characteristics of consent (eg. It is coherent, reversible/revocable and should be given willingly). This is clearly something that needs to be addressed. 

Sex education is (or should be) a holistic subject that includes teachings about the physiological, emotional, and physiological aspects of sex. It has been said that the current sex education curriculum is often “vague” and is too technical for students to comprehend. The emotional and psychological aspects of sex are equally as important as the physical aspect, and so it should be given equal importance when teaching about it in the classroom. 

“Sex education has been conclusively shown to delay initiation of sexual intercourse, decrease risky sexual behaviour, incidence of teenage pregnancies, increase condom and contraceptive use among teenagers that are sexually active” and reduce the likelihood of sexual assault (Columbia University Study)

What is the Current Sex Education Like in Malaysia? 

  • Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia stated “90% of the respondents agree that sex education has not been taught in Malaysians schools and the informal information given by most of the teachers is vague”
  • An estimated 18,000 underage girls get pregnant in Malaysia each year.
  • “Most teenagers have sex without thinking it will result in pregnancy,” says the founder of Rumah Kitah, a shelter for unwed mothers. “There’s no thorough sex education in school. In secondary school when they teach sex in biology, it’s too technical and academic and not very helpful to understand what happens when you have sex”.
  • 35% of Malaysian female youth believe that having sex for the first time does not lead to a pregnancy.
  • One in five Malaysians believed that STIs could be transmitted by mosquitoes.
  • 14 in every 1,000 underaged girls in Malaysia fall pregnant every year. In comparison, Singapore’s rate is four pregnancies for every 1,000 underage girls, and Hong Kong is at three out of every 1,000.
  • 45 teenage girls give birth every day

What is/isn’t consent?

  • Consent is the agreement between parties to engage in sexual activity. 
  • Willingly: The participants must willingly agree without physical or emotional manipulation. In other words, one cannot intimidate, pressure or force another participant into engaging in sexual activity.
  • A coherent answer: Consent cannot be properly given while a participant is under the influence, nor can it be given when a participant is in a vulnerable position such as sleep.
  • Reversible and Ongoing: Just because consent is given in one instance, doesn’t mean it applies to every situation in the future. Consent can be revoked at any time. 
    ‘Consent is not the absence of “no”, it is a clear and willing “yes” ’