Child Registry use can’t be forced, says Rohani

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 ― Not much can be done by the government to ensure the full use of the Child Registry, which has since January included the database of child offenders, due to limited power in enforcing its usage.

Women, Family and Community Development minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said the ministry was only able to encourage potential employers to utilise the registry but could not make it a mandatory requirement.

On Tuesday, Malay Mail reported activists calling for loopholes in the registry to be plugged, which includes making checks on potential employees mandatory and enforceable, and barring those on the list from being hired. Read more

Few making use of Child Registry, Rohani says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 — The battle against child sex offenders faces a major stumbling block with the Child Registry — the database of the names of child sex offenders and their crimes — not being fully utilised by employers providing child related services.

Despite the availability of the registry since January, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said many employers were still ill-informed about the database, or did not see the importance of utilising the registry.

“Limited advocacy and awareness of the programme has left many (employers) uninformed,” Rohani told Malay Mail.

“Another reason could be that some employers don’t see the importance behind conducting checks on potential employees before hiring them. Read more

Activist: New system needed to fight child sexual abuse

Source: FTM News

Child rights activist says Malaysia's system is outdated, and an estimated 750,000 cases of child abuse occur every year. -- Pic from FMT News.

Child rights activist says Malaysia’s system is outdated, and an estimated 750,000 cases of child abuse occur every year. — Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia needs a system that allows for real change, not just ideas and proposals if it hopes to effectively combat sexual abuse of children, a child rights activist says.

In a statement today, chairman of Suriana Welfare Society Malaysia James Nayagam said a lack of commitment, implementation and follow-up under the present system were the main reasons why sexual abuse of children continued to occur.

Nayagam, who has been an activist in the field for over 35 years, criticised the lengthy legal process of reporting child sexual abuse, and said that it currently took more than five years for most cases to be reported.

According to a survey conducted by the NGO, he added, even after a case was reported, the victim continued to faced substantial trauma due to prolonged court proceedings and postponements that sometimes took years before the court reached a decision. Read more

Sexual predator from US taught local students, says report

Source: FMT News

Investigation reveals sexual abuse by former lecturer at US performing arts academy covered up in 1980s, before he moved to Southeast Asia. Pic from FMT News.

Investigation reveals sexual abuse by former lecturer at US performing arts academy covered up in 1980s, before he moved to Southeast Asia. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: A former theatre director, acting coach and performing arts educator from the United States, and who has been working in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand over the past 30 years, has been exposed as a sexual predator, The Star reported today.

The individual who is said to be “quite well-known in the theatre and performing arts scene” came to Southeast Asia in 1987, after he was sacked from the prestigious Milton Academy in Boston, for having molested a student, a crime which he had admitted to.

He reportedly had taught at a few local universities in the country.

According to the daily, the lecturer taught at Milton Academy from 1973 to 1987, and was found to have engaged in sexual misconduct with his male students during his time there.

The revelation was made known earlier this week after the academy commissioned an investigation to find out if there had been any cases of students being sexually abused by its academic staff in the past. Read more

Ministry welcome call to expedite sex offenders registry

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 5 — The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry welcomed the call to expedite the sex offenders registry in Malaysia to monitor the movement of sex offenders for safety reasons.

Referring to an online news portal article “Why the Delay in Sex Offenders Registry”, the ministry said the functions of the Child Act Amendment 2016 (Act A1511) had been expanded to contain information on offenders for crimes including sexual offences, under any written laws where a child had been the victim.

However, the functions are different from the proposed sexual offenders registry under the Registration of Criminals and Undesirable Persons Act 1969 [Act 7], which is under the purview of the Home Ministry. Read more

Malaysia: Communities still in denial months after case of UK’s ‘worst paedophile’

Source: Asian Correspondent

MORE than six months after Richard Huckle was sentenced to life in jail for sexually abusing scores of children, most of the families in the Malaysian communities where he lived are declining counselling and other help, police say.

Huckle had posed as a freelance photographer, English teacher and Western philanthropist over the past decade to gain access mostly to impoverished communities in Kuala Lumpur, where taboos around child sex abuse often prevent families from disclosing it.

Police reached out to 320 adults and 101 children in two communities affected by Huckle, Ong Chin Lan, the head of the Sexual, Women and Children Investigation Division of the Malaysian national police said in an interview.

“We have identified a few victims. We have tried to identify communities,” Ong said. “But we respect the parents and guardians’ view of not coming forward. They don’t want to lodge a police report because of pride and shame.” Read more

New sexual crime Bill ready for Cabinet

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Pic taken from FMT News

Pic taken from FMT News

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — The first draft of the Child Sexual Crime Bill is ready and expected to be presented to the Cabinet for policy drafting by next week.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, who chaired the task force for sexual crimes against children at the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration yesterday, said the Bill would incorporate a change in the definition of sexual crime to include crimes committed online.

The Bill, if passed, would be an extension to the Child Act (Amendment) 2016 and the Penal Code.

“We want to bring it to Parliament this month but we need views and to carry out discussion with the committee and all ministries at the policy level,” she said.

Azalina said the Bill would see the change in definition of online and offline sexual crime.

“We will also see anti-grooming laws to prevent predators from using social media to lure young children,” she said. Read more

Amend legal definition of rape, says Fatimah

Source: The Star Online

Women, Welfare and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah.

KUCHING: A state minister wants the legal definition of rape to be amended soonest, following the gazetting of the Child Act (Amendment) 2015.

Women, Welfare and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said it would be “disappointing” if the amendments to the Child Act did not include a broader definition of rape.

She said her ministry had been pursuing this matter since the Court of Appeal’s acquittal of a 60-year-old man in the “finger rape” case last year.

“The perpetrator was let off because the definition of rape only covered penile penetration.

“I wrote a letter on behalf of the state government to the Attorney-General to review the definition of rape so that there will be justice for the victims.

“The reply we received then was that comprehensive amendments would be made to the Child Act.

“Now it has been gazetted but it does not include the definition of rape. Of course that would be very disappointing to us.

“We are still waiting for the definition to be amended. Maybe it will be done through an amendment to the Penal Code,” Fatimah said after presenting assistance to storm victims here yesterday.

Read more

Child Act (Amendment) 2016 gazetted

Source: FMT

The amended Act includes the child registry which will now contain records of convicts who commit crimes against children to allow screenings to be conducted.

PUTRAJAYA: The Child Act (Amendment) 2016 with four main amendments – child registry, community service order (CSO), a family-based care and heavier penalty – was gazetted yesterday after obtaining the consent of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim said the ministry would conduct an awareness campaign to ensure that the public and all agencies were ready before enforcing the Act.

“This is good news for the ministry after three years, and after various meetings were held to improve the Act and it took into account current issues related to pedophilia, etc,” she told reporters at the ministry’s Aidilfitri gathering here today.

She said the child registry would now contain records of convicts who committed crimes against children to allow screenings to be conducted on individuals working with children as an added safety measure.

Meanwhile, the CSO is a rehabilitation programme for children who are involved in crime and adult offenders, including the mother, father and guardians, who abuse or neglect their children.

She said the amendment would also increase the fines and enable prison sentences to be raised to RM50,000 and 20 years for offences under Section 31.