After tahfiz school sodomy, deputy minister moots new registry for those working with kids

Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh proposed a registry specifically to vet those working with minors. — Picture by Ham Abu Bakar
Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh proposed a registry specifically to vet those working with minors. — Picture by Ham Abu Bakar

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh proposed a registry specifically to vet those working with minors, after police disclosed the case of a tahfiz centre principal who allegedly sodomised and molested at least nine students.

The deputy minister from the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry said this would be separate from the Child Registry that lists those convicted of sexual crimes against minors.

Yeoh proposed for the new registry to include the personal details of all whose work requires them to interact with children regularly as a way for the government to monitor the safety and welfare of minors.

“This would be our next step forward. We want to have a registry for those working with children like bus or van drivers, daycare operators and even teachers.

“The existing (sexual offenders’) registry is not comprehensive enough so we feel like there is dire need for this,” she told reporters after a fire hydrant testing and flushing exercise at Taman Sri Sinar in Segambut today.

Yeoh added the registry would feature a special screening process and those who fail would be barred from working with children.

However, she stressed that none of the proposals was finalised.

The Segambut MP said her ministry was also compiling relevant material for educational videos on sex.

Yeoh said that while it was taboo, it did not change the urgent need for Malaysia to address the lack of sex education in the country.

“The fact is if we don’t teach our children, someone else will. It is important to tell your kids who can or cannot touch them, or explain what is a safe touch and what isn’t,” she said.

Yeoh also stressed on the need for parents to keep abreast with their children.

“I’m a really busy woman but I make sure to check up on my children every day. I ask them ‘how was your day?’ or ‘what happened at school today?’ Simple but engaging questions.

“Talk to them and really listen to them. You never know what kind of stress your child is under,” she said.

Police revealed that a tahfiz school principal from Kepong was arrested for allegedly sodomising nine students between the ages of 11 and 16.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa has since said that the school will be closed if the principal is found guilty of sodomising his wards.