Friday, July 1

Child Sexual Offences Bill 2017 tabled in Parliament for first reading


KUALA LUMPUR: The Child Sexual Offences Bill 2017, aimed to provide more bite in child protection law and ensure the welfare of children, was tabled in Parliament yesterday for the first reading.

The Bill tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said offers key provisions in the proposed new law to include a section on child grooming, making it an offence to “sexually communicate”, or “meet a child for sexual purposes or involved in physical sexual assault.

Those found involved in child porn – making, possessing and distributing any material with sexually explicit conducts – face a maximum 30 years jail and maximum 6 strokes of the rotan.

Under the new provisions tabled, an individual is deemed to have sexually assaulted a child for sexual purposes if he or she touches any part of the body of the child, or makes the child touch any part of the person’s body or other person’s body, or makes a child touch any part of their own body.

For such offences, the Bill under Section 15, provides a maximum penalty of 20 years jail and whipping.  Individuals involved in physical and non-physical assaults, including verbal and visual sexual offences face a maximum 10-year jail sentence or RM20,000 fine or both.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had said the government would not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse of children and would strive to eliminate these heinous crimes.

Statistics of the Social Welfare Department revealed that 5,779 child sexual abuse cases were recorded between 2010 and 2015, with an average of 963 cases in a year, he had said.

Police statistics showed that 2,759 cases of rape, 412 cases of incest, 1,423 cases of molest and 422 cases of unnatural sex involving children under 18 were reported in 2015 and 2016.

Azalina during a press conference said MPs from both political divide showed a rare stance of unity and commitment in the fight against child sexual offences.

She said the Bill had received the support of 115 MPs, including those from the opposition.

Also present were Women, Family and Community Development minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, Kuala Kangsar MP Datin Mastura Mohd Yazid and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar. — Bernama