Saturday, October 19

State PKR joins calls for reforms to punish sexual perpetrators


KUCHING: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is supportive of calls for urgent amendments of the Penal Code to ensure all forms of sexual acts are comprehensively defined and covered.

Its national Women vice president Voon Shiak Ni, in supporting the calls made by Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS) and senior consultant community paediatrician Datuk Dr Amar-Singh HSS, said reforms were needed to ensure rapists or sexual perpetrators could not circumvent the law and get away with their heinous acts.

Voon, who is also a lawyer and PKR Stampin branch vice chairperson, was commenting on the Court of Appeal’s decision on May 7, 2015, to discharge and acquit a 60-year-old from four rape convictions.

“We need to be seriously warned that the said decision will set a grave precedent for future rape cases on minors, and it will strip off legal protection for children from rape and sexual abuses,” she told The Borneo Post yesterday.

Voon said although the public had yet to have access to the written grounds of the Court of Appeal’s decision, even a layman could see that sexual abuse had occurred and a child had been born out of the alleged act.

“One of the grounds for the acquittal is that the act of penetration by finger smeared with sperm is not caught under the Penal Code, which defines rape only by penetration with penis.

“But the fact stands that the child victim had been sexually abused, and it constitutes grave injustice for the court to justify a child rapist to circumvent the law and walk free from his heinous crime.”

She said if the court could not uphold the conviction of the child rapist in the case, then it was clear that the Penal Code was not adequately framed to bring all sexual perpetrators to bear the legal consequences.

Voon said PKR hoped the state Attorney-General’s Office would take a re-look into the issue immediately.

“If the court and the laws are not sufficient to protect our children, then how can the society seek justice and protection for our children? It is the duty of the court and the nation to give our children the right to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse.”

She said there were 1,424 reported incidents of statutory rape in Malaysia in 2013, and there were definitely more cases that went unreported every year due to factors such as social stigma, shame, guilt and fear of going through the legal process.

“If the law is not strong enough to bring justice to the children, it will deter families from coming out with complaints of child rape.”