MCA calls for the establishment for a National Sex Offender Registry immediately. Last year, Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh announced that the Ministry of Women, Community and Family Development has come up with a child sex offender registry which will be up and running by 1 April 2019. While this move is applauded, and such effort is certainly praiseworthy, this registry service has several major drawbacks:
1) It is not easily accessible to the public. People using the system will have to go to Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat’s (JKM) state office (checks at the district office requires 5 days for the results to come back), and have to provide the IC of the person in question as well as give a valid reason why he or she is consulting the registry. This will be difficult as one may not easily obtain someone else’s IC number, or find time to drive down to the JKM, and your reason for doing a check may be rejected.
2) The system is very limited. It is only updated from 2017 onwards. Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin was convicted in the United Kingdom for possession of child pornography in 2015 and therefore not listed therein.
3) It is not clear whether the system addresses those who have been convicted of sex crimes against children abroad.
4) The system does not include those who have been convicted of sex crimes against adults.
5) It is not available to the public. The child registry enables employers to check if prospective employees have criminal records against children, especially sexual crimes, but if you are just a concerned parent checking to see if there are offenders in your area, it will be difficult.
6) It is not mandatory for business operators related to children to do screening on potential employees yet.
𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗲𝘅 𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗥𝗲𝗴𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘆
Therefore, after thorough research and consultation, MCA calls for the establishment of a National Sex Offender Registry. As early as 2017, a sexual offenders registry under the Registration of Criminals and Undesirable Persons Act 1969 [Act 7] under the purview of the Home Ministry has been proposed, but it has yet to be formed. Such a registry should be made easily available online to all members of the public, searchable by name, year or area code, and include all types of sex crime offenders, not just paedophiles. It is also recommended that the registry covers 4 types of convictions, namely:
I. Malaysians convicted of a sex crime in Malaysia
II. Malaysians convicted of a sex crime abroad
III. Non-Malaysians convicted of a sex crime in Malaysia and residing in Malaysia
IV. Non-Malaysians convicted of a sex crime abroad and residing in Malaysia
It is imperative that a national registry be created as quickly as possible, as it will raise awareness of the presence of predators. For instance, The Malay Mail Online (7 Jan 2020) reported that Chief Police Officer of Perlis Dato’ Surina Saad informed that child sex abuse cases in Perlis have jumped by 38%, a percentage which she attributes towards the recent amendments to the SOAC which has helped the police to arrest more child sex offenders.
We must not tarry when the wellbeing of women and children are at stake.