Set up monitoring team to track sex offenders, police told

Child rights advocate James Nayagam says the issue raised by many Malaysians at the moment is whether Malaysia has an efficient mechanism to monitor and track sex offenders. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Child rights advocate James Nayagam says the issue raised by many Malaysians at the moment is whether Malaysia has an efficient mechanism to monitor and track sex offenders. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — Authorities must set up a team to monitor sex offenders, an activist has said amid news that convicted serial rapist Selva Kumar Subbiah is set to return to Malaysia tomorrow from Canada.

Child rights advocate James Nayagam said that police have their own registry, in the form of records, but the issue raised by many Malaysians at the moment is whether Malaysia has an efficient mechanism to monitor and track such individuals.

“When they actually came up with the registry (record), they also had in mind the resources needed. So it’s time for them to buck up and have a team available rather than just hoping one day it will start.

“Because even if we are going to have a registry, they also need to have a mechanism to cope, then you can find the harmony between the registry and practice. It’s [a] good time for the police to implement the monitoring system in the process of waiting for the registry,” the Suriana Welfare Society for Children chairman said.

He added that the 56-year-old Malaysian who will be escorted home by Canadian Immigration officers needs to undergo rehabilitation process as such offenders have mental issues, unlike normal criminals.

“A serial rapist has psychological issues and it’s deeply an embedded situation. Paedophile and serial rapists have issues with mental health, so they have to be viewed differently,” he said.

Universiti Sains Malaysia criminologist Prof P. Sundramoorthy suggested that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) assist the police in using laws such as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) and the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA) on sex offenders.

“The AG’s office needs to assist the police, guide them to determine whether Sosma and POCA can be used because he is a convicted habitual sex offender.

“Sosma deals with certain types of criminal including serious criminal and subversive elements. and use POCA to detain him, because POCA specifically spells out serious offenders,” he said adding that someone like Selva Kumar must be under strict surveillance and supervision as he is a major threat to society.

Parole authorities in Canada had refused to let Selva Kumar out early following the completion of his 24 year jail term on January 29. They feared the threat of him committing new offences was high.

Selva Kumar was given a 24-year jail term on December 21, 1992, after being convicted of 19 counts of sexual assault, 28 counts of administering a drug or noxious substance, 10 counts of various assaults and a dozen of other charges.

Another criminologist, Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat, said the view that the returnee is a high risk person who has the tendency to repeat the crime should be taken into consideration seriously, especially when deciding on how to deal with him.

“Malaysia uses a similar prediction mechanism. What is done in Malaysia is to provide the local police with the likelihood of repeat offending and place the ex-rapist on the list of ‘Orang diBawah Kawalan or Perhatian’, until a time when the assessment results in a low likelihood of reoffending.

“There is a need to monitor the returnee and there is also a public and civic duty to inform people - especially those that fit his victim profile; about the possible danger so that people can safeguard themselves,” she said.

She added that Malaysia already had two tracking mechanism systems in place, using actuarial assessments and physical monitoring by police personnel in the general location of where an ex-rapist is released.

“The problem is that there is a possibility that the public may not be aware of it.

“There have been mixed results in the literature pertaining to the success of an official sex registry and physical tracking devices. Some governments have also been sued as a result of negative outcomes from being listed on an official sex registry and physical tracking devices,” she said.

She added that ordinary Malaysians have a role to play in helping the authorities to deter potential sex-related crimes.

“This man is here to stay, so people, especially those that fit his victim profile; need to practise safety measures in order to avoid from becoming victims of all types of sex-related crimes.

“Sex predators come in all shapes and sizes and there is a wide range of sex-related crimes to be wary of,” she added.

Selva Kumar had assaulted two dozen women in Toronto and had assumed various identities including that of a modelling agent, movie talent scout, professional dancer, lawyer and diplomat.

He had drugged women with a drink, before undressing and raping his unconscious victims and then taking photos of their nude bodies.

He was found with a black book containing the names of 170 women along with ratings of them during his arrest in August 1991.

Inspector-General of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has reportedly said that police would closely monitor him and would also record his statement.