SEX­UAL OF­FENCES AGAINST CHIL­DREN BILL TABLED FOR FIRST READ­ING

2nd, 3rd read­ings to be done dur­ing cur­rent ses­sion, says min­is­ter

New Straits Times - - Front Page - ARFA YUNUS KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

THE Sex­ual Of­fences against Chil­dren Bill 2017 was tabled for its first read­ing in the De­wan Rakyat here yes­ter­day by Min­is­ter in Prime Min­is­ter’s De­part­ment Datuk Seri Aza­lina Oth­man Said.

Aza­lina in­formed the house that the se­cond and third read­ing of the bill would be done dur­ing this par­lia­men­tary ses­sion.

This act will be ap­pli­ca­ble to all chil­dren un­der 18. Key pro­vi­sions in­clude a sec­tion on ex­tra-ter­ri­to­rial ap­pli­ca­tion in which all Malaysian chil­dren will be pro­tected against per­pe­tra­tors, in­clud­ing Malaysians or for­eign­ers.

This bill can be used against any Malaysian who com­mit­ted such of­fences “against a child in any place” out­side of the coun­try.

Cred­i­bil­ity and ev­i­dence of child wit­ness

In this part of the bill, it is stated that a child’s state­ments and ev­i­dence will be pri­ori­tised in cases that lack ev­i­dence as “a child is to be com­pe­tent to give ev­i­dence”.

“... the court may al­low for the un­cor­rob­o­rated ev­i­dence of a child, given upon oath or oth­er­wise, be ad­mis­si­ble,” the bill read.

Child groom­ing

Clauses 13 and 14 of the act state that it is an of­fence if a per­son “sex­u­ally com­mu­ni­cates”, or “meets a child for sex­ual pur­poses”.

The bill sets out to de­fine child groom­ing as “any per­son who com­mu­ni­cates by any means with a child for the in­ten­tion of com­mit­ting an of­fence un­der the act”, and car­ries a max­i­mum pun­ish­ment of five years’ jail and can­ing upon con­vic­tion.

Un­der this act, any per­son who ei­ther sex­u­ally com­mu­ni­cates or en­cour­ages a child to do the same can be pun­ished with im­pris­on­ment for a term not ex­ceed­ing three years.

“How­ever, no per­son shall be con­victed for an of­fence un­der this sec­tion if the com­mu­ni­ca­tion is for ed­u­ca­tion, sci­en­tific or med­i­cal pur­poses.”

Sex­ual as­sault

The pro­posed law de­fines sex­ual as­sault as both phys­i­cal and non-phys­i­cal.

This would mean that the act can also be used for sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

“A per­son is deemed to have sex­u­ally as­saulted a child for sex­ual pur­poses if he or she touches any part of a child’s body, or makes a child touch any part of the per­son’s body or other per­son’s body, or makes a child touch any part of his own body.”

Clause 16 pro­vides pun­ish­ments for a per­son with sex­ual mo­tives who ut­ters any words, makes a sound or any ges­tures or ex­hibits parts of his body in­ten­tion­ally.

Child pornog­ra­phy

Clause 4 of the act states that a per­son has com­mit­ted an of­fence if he ei­ther en­gages, ap­pears in, makes, pro­duces, helps with the prepa­ra­tion, sells or ac­cesses child pornog­ra­phy.

Mak­ing, pro­duc­ing and di­rect­ing child pornog­ra­phy will see the per­son pun­ished with im­pris­on­ment for a term not ex­ceed­ing 30 years and not less than six strokes of the rotan.

The bill fur­ther spec­i­fies fail­ure to re­port a sex­ual abuse case in­volv­ing a child as a pun­ish­able of­fence, with those found guilty be­ing li­able to a RM5,000 fine.

The sex­ual crimes bill was fast­tracked fol­low­ing pres­sure from civil groups and the public to im­me­di­ately en­act laws that would pro­vide greater pro­tec­tion to chil­dren, par­tic­u­larly against on­line groom­ing.

Cur­rently, only the Child Act 2001 con­tains pro­vi­sions against sex­ual ex­ploita­tion and ne­glect of chil­dren, with its most re­cent amend­ment last year in­creas­ing jail sen­tences to a max­i­mum of 20 years and a RM50,000 fine for cer­tain of­fences.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.