An alarming number of children - 126 - have been reported missing in Johor since January, said the Sultan of Johor's consort Tuanku Raja Zarith Sofia Sultan Idris Shah.
She said this figure, released by the state police, must be viewed very seriously, reported The Star.
"Although the statistics are lower compared to that of neighbouring countries, the figures are still frightening," she said, adding that the children were aged 18 and below.
Tuanku Raja Zarith explained that the bulk of the children reported missing were girls aged between 13 and 17 - some 91 cases in all.
She added that only 50 children have since been found.
"We can only imagine the agony of parents who are still waiting and yearning for the return of their children," she said during a Family Safety Forum held at Stadium Pasir Gudang in Johor on Sunday.
Tuanku Raja Zarith had called for the forum after the disappearance of five-year-old Nurul Nadirah Abdullah last month.
Her charred remains were later recovered by police at a palm oil estate in Nusa Damai on March 12.
"Parents need to educate their children as the world is no longer as safe as it used to be," she said.
She warned that there were also more syndicates who lure children away to kidnap them and turn them into beggars or prostitutes overseas.
Tuanku Raja Zarith said everyone needs to play a part in preventing such events from occurring, and advised parents to always be aware of their children's whereabouts and who they were with.
"I hope that through this forum, governmental agencies and NGOs will discuss how we can better protect our children," she said.
She suggested that one way could be to teach children at school level on what they should do to protect themselves when faced with challenging situations.
Nurul Nadirah's mother Roselyn Alan, 25, who was at the forum, said she was glad that efforts were being undertaken to prevent other children from disappearing just like her daughter.
"At least other parents will be able to learn from what my family had to go through," she said.
A police spokesman said the bulk of the missing cases were not related to kidnapping.
"Most of the cases involve teenagers aged between 13 and 17 who run away from home for various reasons such as disagreements with family members," she added.
This article was first published in The New Paper.