KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 ― De facto law minister Nancy Shukri backed today calls to set up a sex offenders’ registry, amid uproar over a statutory rape case and a Malaysian convicted in the UK of possessing child pornography.
Nancy said Malaysia presently has a Registration of Criminals and Undesirable Persons Act 1969 that addresses rape, which is defined as the penetration of the penis into the vagina without consent, but not forced oral or anal sex.
“I support the setting up of a registry of sex offenders, make sure deeper studies is carried out on how the registry is to be set up and maintained,” Nancy said in a statement.
A 60-year-old man from Sibu was acquitted at the Court of Appeal last Thursday of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl, sparking outrage among women’s groups, lawyers and politicians.
Lawyer George Lo reportedly said Bunya Jalong may have gotten away with it as the man’s insertion of his finger into the girl’s vagina does not constitute rape in Malaysia, but stressed that it was still child sexual abuse.
The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has reportedly said it will not seek a review of the recent decision to acquit Bunya.
Nancy, however, urged the government to apply for a review as provided for under Section 137 of the Federal Court rules.
“As minister in charge of law, I will personally take it to task to ensure all these laws are amended to suit the current needs of our society,” she said.
“The government is actually drafting amendment(s) to the relevant law. In view of the recent development, further amendment seems necessary as the various government agencies are seriously looking into other related laws involving obscene materials including pornography, especially those involving young persons and children,” the de facto law minister added.
Malaysian math student Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin was convicted in the UK on April 30 of possessing over 30,000 videos and photographs of child pornography that the London police described as “some of the most extreme” materials they have ever seen.
Wanita Ikram, the women’s wing of the Muslim NGO Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia, later urged Putrajaya to enact a special law to restrict pornography in Malaysia.
“At the moment we have the existing law under the Penal Code to deal with such cases and there is no need to have a stand alone law to deal with pornography per se at the moment.
However, with regard to pedophilia, it's time for us to look into the existing laws like the Penal Code and the Child Act to make the necessary amendments where needed,” Nancy said in response.