KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — The government does not currently plan to amend the law to criminalise rape of one’s spouse, Mohamed Hanipa Maidin said in Parliament today.
The deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of law said the idea was discussed on July 12, 2006 but was rejected by a parliamentary select committee then on religious grounds and the difficulty in securing convictions in court against the accused.
“When [rape] involves a spouse, there is inherent doubt and in the principle of criminal cases, any benefit of the doubt must be given to the accused.
“We can turn [marital] rape into a crime to protect the women, but what use is it to have a criminal section when the possibility of conviction is very small?” he said in the Dewan Rakyat, replying a question from Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah.
Hanipa added that a law already exists to punish those who use or threaten sexual violence against their spouse.
“Section 375A of the Penal Code was created to punish those who have used violence or threat of violence against their wives for sex,” he added.
However, he said the Attorney General Chambers told him that there has only (been) one case of domestic sexual assault that was taken to the courts to date, but added that “it didn’t even involve Malaysians, but foreigners”.
“In the end, the woman retracted her report and the man was given a discharge amounting to an acquittal,” said Mohamed Hanipa.
Maria had wanted to know if the government have plans to review or amend the Penal Code to criminalise marital rape.
Section 375A of the Penal Code states that “any man who during the subsistence of a valid marriage causes hurt or fear of death or hurt to his wife or any other person in order to have sexual intercourse with his wife shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years.”
Section 375 of the same law describes rape as “a crime gives exception to sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife by a marriage which is valid under any written law for the time being in force, or is recognized in Malaysia.”
The punishment for rape under Section 376 is a jail up to 20 years as well as whipping for those found guilty.