Dr Nadzriah Ahmad, the child justice and diversion expert from the Faculty of Law, Universiti Teknologi MARA, (UiTMLaw), has been entrusted to lead the national team of Malaysia to embark on the evaluation study entitled Country Led Evaluation of Child Justice Reform: The Diversion Pilot. Other team members comprise Assoc Prof Dr Sheela Jayabalan and Assoc Prof Dr Normawati Hashim. The study is funded by an international grant which is part of the consultancy work undertaken by international researchers led by Child Frontiers Limited. It is pertinent to highlight that this study is carried out to support the Government of Malaysia, led by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, in reforming the child justice reforms, by introducing the diversion pilot in Malaysia.
The purpose of introducing the diversion pilot is to prevent children in conflict with the law from coming into contact with the formal child justice system in Malaysia, thus preventing the adversarial system’s adverse effects on children. This evaluation study is in line with the Strategic Planning 2021-2025, developed by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, Malaysia, to afford better protection for children in conflict with the law in Malaysia. One of the essential objectives of this evaluation study is to shed light on how the diversion pilot is currently functioning in the three pilot sites, located in Sepang, Seremban, and Port Dickson. Therefore, this study will considerably impact the diversion pilot, particularly in providing evidence-based findings of the desirability and feasibility of continuing or scaling up the diversion pilot in 2022 in Malaysia. Furthermore, this research is also in tandem with the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 (CRC) provision that promotes the use of alternative measures, such as diversion to protect children in conflict with the law from the adverse effects of the formal justice system in Malaysia. UiTMLaw is optimistic that this international collaboration will achieve the prescribed objectives, which will ultimately protect the children’s interest as the future generation.