KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — Under-fire Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar denied today that he is racist after sparking a controversy with his statutory rape statement suggesting that non-Malays were more accepting of child rape.
The deputy home minister also clarified he had meant that Malay-Muslims in particular are against consensual sex between minors, leading to a higher number of reported statutory rape cases in the community.
The Santubong MP — who has been hit with a barrage of criticism after he was reported yesterday as saying that non-Malays are more tolerant of statutory rape — also pointed to the mix of ethnicities in his family as proof he was not racist.
“The possibility is that Malays, by nature of their religion and culture, tend to be very sensitive in terms of consensual sex among people aged 16 and below,” Wan Junaidi told reporters after the Asia Pacific NGO Conference on Human Trafficking here today.
“There’s no solution to them, so they make police reports. But they don’t realise it’ll be statutory rape,” he added.
Pre-marital sex is prohibited in Islam.
Wan Junaidi also pointed out that his wife is Chinese and that his family includes other ethnic groups like Caucasians and Eurasians.
“I’m not racist. I never intended to be racist,” said the Sarawakian lawmaker.
Wan Junaidi’s remarks in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday about statutory rape drew outrage from both sides of the political divide.
Figures cited by the deputy minister showed that Malays accounted for 48 per cent of the 1,550 reported incidents of statutory rape in 2012, followed by the Chinese at 5 per cent and Indians at 3 per cent.
The number of cases dipped to 1,424 last year, but Wan Junaidi maintained that child rape is a major concern.
It is unknown how many cases involved sex between minors and how many involved adults having sex with children.
Malaysian law on statutory rape does not make a distinction between such cases.
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.