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KUCHING, March 28: The Child Sex Offenders Registry was finally launched in pursuant to the gazetting of the Child Act (Amendment) 2016 by Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in Parliament on March 26.
The registry, which contain the names of some 3,000 reported offenders from 2017 until February 18 this year will take effect on April 1.
In supporting the move, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) National Women’s Wing vice-president Voon Shiak Ni said child abuse and sexual abuse incidents happens almost everyday and the exposure of the shocking case of Richard Huckle, a British serial paedophile two years ago, who had abused many of Malaysian toddlers and children under the guise of a teacher had sent shock waves across the nation.
“In the light of the shocking exposure of Huckle, the call for the Malaysian government to introduce the sex offender registry, which is a system long adopted in countries like Australia, United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea has never been louder then by the civil societies and also the Malaysian Bar,” Voon said in a statement yesterday.
The amendment to the Child Act 2001 was made and approved by Parliament in 2016.
Voon said among the amendments made is a heavier sentence with fine of RM50,000 and imprisonment of 20 years for potential child abuser and offenders will also be placed in the Sex Offenders Registry as a measure to curb and prevent the heinous crimes.
“We urged that all stakeholders like child care institutions, schools and other children non-governmental organisations to take note of the said registry and have access to it as part of their safety measure in the safeguarding the safety of children under their care and supervision.
“With the help of the said registry, we can screen potential employees or workers (to determine) if they have records of child abuse offences before engaging them,” she added.
Although the issue of implementation is still the core factor to ensure effectiveness in curbing and preventing these crimes, Voon opined that it would be good if it can be made a mandatory exercise for child care related centres to do screening on their potential employees by submitting the potential employee’s identity card number to the Social Welfare Department. — DayakDaily