Protecting the innocent

Source: The Sun Daily

Malaysian Parliament — MMO file pic

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia made some milestone decisions in law this year in protecting the rights of children and ensuring innocent people are not sent to the gallows.

Parliament enacted a new law to protect children from being subjected to sexual abuses physically and online.

The Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 comprehensively covers all aspects including corroboration of evidence for child victims and setting up a special court for child sexual offences nationwide.

The law received wide support of lawmakers from both political divides, civil societies, human rights activists and the public. Read more

It’s the ones kids trusted that turn out to be guilty ones

Source: The Star

PUTRAJAYA: They are people trusted by the children.

But sadly, parents, lecturers, a tennis coach and even a pastor and an imam are part of the list of alleged offenders brought to the Special Criminal Court on sexual crimes against children so far.

The latest additions are foreigners who have been charged with various sexual offences against children here, said Chief Registrar of the Federal Court of Malaysia Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar.

“As of last month, 15 foreigners were charged in court. All the accused are not related to the victims,” she said in an interview.

The youngest offender to be charged in court was slightly over 18 years old.

“The oldest was 77,” Latifah said, adding that the victims were aged between one and 17.

A total of 352 cases have been registered since the court began proceedings on June 22 until Nov 30. Read more

36 cases prosecuted under Sexual Offences Against Children Act since July

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8 — There have been 36 cases of offenders charged under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 since it was gazetted on July 10.

Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister, Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun said the ministry had been collaborating with several other agencies to implement various programmes and initiatives towards curbing sexual offences against children including incest.

“These efforts include the Children s Safety at School campaign, namely the Sahabat BIJAK carried out with a number of government agencies like the Education Ministry, Health Department and Royal Malaysian Police in spreading information on child safety from any sexual threats, including from their own family members.

“The National Reproductive Health and Social Education Action Plan (Pekerti) 2009 was also introduced to produce knowledgeable individuals with a positive attitude towards reproductive health and social issues.” Read more

14 cases solved under Sexual Offences Against Children Act

Source: FMT News 

PUTRAJAYA: A total of 14 cases under the new Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 have been solved over the past month, Chief Justice Raus Sharif said today.

He said 48 cases remained to be heard, with only three cases from last year.

“Among the 14 cases cleared eight of those were from 2016, and we have three remaining cases from 2016,” he told a press conference at the Palace of Justice here.

He said 26 cases, the highest number so far, was solved in Petaling Jaya courts, while Putrajaya had the lowest number with five cases.

Raus said the accused could appeal the courts’ decisions against them in the High Court within 14 days.

He added that it was important that such cases were handled quickly.

It was reported today that a bakery assistant became the first person to be charged under the new act. Read more

Provision for legal companion for child victims tabled

Source: FMT News 

KUALA LUMPUR: The amendments to the Legal Aid Act 1971 tabled for the first reading today, seeks to provide legal companion services for children who are victims of any offences.

The amendment sees several new parts introduced in this Bill.

In Part I-A, it states that legal aid services are offered in criminal cases, civil actions, legal advice, mediation and legal companion services.

The services are only offered to Malaysians. Read more

Legislative reforms for child protection must continue — Malaysian Bar

Source: The Malay Mail Online

whatyouthink-new-logoAPRIL 10 — The Malaysian Bar welcomes the passing of the Sexual Offences against Children Act 2017 (“Act”) by the Dewan Rakyat in the recently concluded Parliament session. This new law marks progress for child protection in Malaysia by bringing our laws closer in line with international standards, and towards fulfilling our obligations as a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (“CRC”). We take this opportunity to recognise the efforts of the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal affairs, YB Dato’ Seri Azalina Othman Said, in bringing the Act to pass.

The Malaysian Bar, however, opposes the inclusion of the mandatory whipping provisions in the Act, which may include whipping a male who is more than 50 years of age. Whipping is a harsh and barbaric form of punishment, with long-term harmful psychological effects, and has failed as a retributory and deterrent punishment. International human rights norms condemn whipping and other forms of corporal punishment as cruel, inhumane or degrading, and call for their abolition. There is no justification for Malaysia to condone and administer such a merciless punishment. Read more

Child marriage is not acceptable — Marianne Clark-Hattingh

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Marianne Clark-Hattingh is the UNICEF representative in Malaysia

Marianne Clark-Hattingh is the UNICEF representative in Malaysia

APRIL 6 — UNICEF is outraged by statements uttered during the debate on the Sexual Offences Against Children Bill 2017 claiming that it is okay for children to marry their rapists and that girls as young as 9 or 12 years old are ready for marriage.

It is not acceptable for a child to get married. Under no circumstances should child marriage be used as an excuse for rape or as a defence by alleged child sexual perpetrators to avoid facing prosecution. UNICEF does not condone in any way and is against using child marriage to cover up or ‘normalise’ rape, sexual abuse or teenage sex or worse to avoid the prosecution of perpetrators.

Scientific and medical evidence indicate that a girl who is not yet 18 is not physically and mentally ready to have children, to care for them and look after a family. Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide, accounting for some 50,000 deaths each year. Girls between 10 -14 years of age are 5 times more likely than women aged 20 – 24 to die in pregnancy and childbirth.

Marriage before the age of 18 is a fundamental violation of human rights that impacts all aspects of a child’s life, especially girls. In Malaysia and elsewhere in the world, child marriage denies girl and boys their childhood, disrupts education, limits opportunities, increases the risk of violence and jeopardises health. Read more

I wouldn’t let my daughter marry her rapist, PAS MP says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

PAS lawmaker Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan pointed out that even in Islam, rape is frowned upon and harsher sentences should be meted out. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

PAS lawmaker Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan pointed out that even in Islam, rape is frowned upon and harsher sentences should be meted out. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 ― PAS lawmaker Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said he would not allow his daughter to marry her attacker if she were raped, but would not disagree with parents who would consent to such a situation.

The Kota Baru MP was weighing in the controversial suggestion yesterday by an Umno representative who said girls who wed their rapists would be spared a “bleak future”, amid debate over a proposal to ban child marriages.

“We cannot disagree to this if the victim’s parents agree to their child being married by a rapist, but if this happens to my daughter, I would not allow it,” Takiyuddin told reporters at Parliament.

But the PAS secretary-general also said the rapist should not be let off even after marriage.

“How can the person who ruined our child be allowed to marry them? It’s an unacceptable excuse,” he stressed.

Takiyuddin also pointed out that even in Islam, rape is frowned upon and harsher sentences should be meted out. Read more