PMO sets up task force to review child protection laws

Najib said he will personally oversee the task force as he viewed sexual crimes against children seriously. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa.
Najib said he will personally oversee the task force as he viewed sexual crimes against children seriously. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa.

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 25 — A special task force has been set up to look into the growing demand for stronger laws to protect children from sex predators, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today.

The Pekan MP said he will personally oversee the task force as he viewed sexual crimes against children seriously.

"I am very disturbed by reports of abuses and crimes committed against children and the frequency of it has made it worrisome for me and the people," he said in his speech at the government's Women's Day celebration here.

"As such I would like to announce that a special task force has been set up under the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) to look into ways to combat sexual crimes against children."

Calls for tough child protection laws arose after the international media reported on the case of British paedophile Richard Huckle, who was given 22 life sentences in the UK in June this year for his sexual crimes against impoverished victims aged six months to 11 years, many of them in Malaysia.

Prior to Huckle's arrest by the British authorities in December 2014, the Briton had operated under the radar in Malaysia for nearly nine years from March 2006, allegedly abusing close to 200 children aged between six months and 12 years.

It was reported that Huckle, dubbed in the UK as Britain’s worst paedophile, had preyed on pre-pubescent children from minority ethnic communities by posing as a student, photographer, English teacher and even as a philanthropist.

After his case came to light, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry set up a hotline urging those with information to come forward.

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