KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Non-Malays are likely to be more accepting of statutory rape, Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told Parliament today, in reply to a question on the low incidence of reported cases of sexual violations among Malaysia’s minorities.
The deputy home minister appeared to suggest that the lower level of tolerance among the country’s largest community for sexual predators who prey on minors is a contributing factor to the high number of cases involving Malays.
“This doesn’t mean the cases mostly involve Malays. Because Malays are culturally more sensitive about its youth so there are more police reports about it.
“Non-Malays are maybe more accepting about it so the margin (is lower),” Wan Junaidi said in reply to Setiu Barisan Nasional MP Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh during Question Time.
The Santubong MP said that in 2012, there were 1,550 reported incidents of statutory rape, with Malays taking the top spot at 48 per cent, followed by the Chinese at 5 per cent and Indians at 3 per cent.
The lawmaker observed that the number of reported cases last year had dropped to 1,424.
He added that close to 90 per cent of the cases reported involved those aged between 16 and 19.
Despite the decline in numbers, child rape remains a major concern, Wan Junaidi said .
He added the government has initiated various campaigns to educate the public about the problem as well as crime prevention programmes.
But the deputy minister said public refusal to co-operate has made it hard for the authorities to tackle the problem.
Malaysia was rocked in the past two years by several high-profile cases of men having sex with underage girls, some barely in their teens, which raised questions over the Penal Code.
A 41-year-old Sabahan and father of two was charged with statutory rape of a 12-year-old girl whom he subsequently married last year.
In 2012, a national bowler, who pleaded guilty to having consensual sex with his 13-year-old girlfriend when he was 19, escaped a jail sentence after the Court of Appeal ruled to show leniency, saying the youth had shown remorse.