As part of a drive to curb 'baby-dumping', promiscuity and HIV, children as young as six will be given sex education in Malaysian primary schools from next year, an official said Sunday.
Deputy education minister Wee Ka Siong told AFP that pupils aged between six and 11-years-old will study the new curriculum, which has been designed with the help of parents and civil society groups.
The plan follows Thursday's announcement that sex education will be taught in secondary schools across the conservative Muslim-majority country from next year.
"We want to also give primary school students aged between six and eleven years, a better understanding of family values and how to protect yourself from high-risk behaviour," he said.
"Together, the lessons in primary and secondary school provide a comprehensive sex education curriculum that will help to reduce promiscuity, unwanted pregnancies, baby dumping, HIV infection and other social ills."
Last month, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the classes were being considered as part of a plan to tackle the issue of baby-dumping, in which babies have been left to die in toilets and rubbish dumps.
Giving birth out of wedlock carries a strong social stigma in Malaysia, a multicultural society embracing Muslim Malays as well as ethnic Chinese and Indian communities.
In 2009 there were 79 cases of baby-dumping but as of mid-September this year there had already been about 70, sparking alarm among authorities and the public.
Malaysia's first school for pregnant teenagers opened in September in central Malacca state and in May the nation's first "baby hatch" centre for unwanted newborns was introduced in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.