Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said he was merely stating the law when he disagreed with Wanita MCA chief Heng Seai Kie's suggestion to charge serial rapist Selva Kumar Subbiah a second time.
"It is to be stressed that nowhere in my said statement did I defend Selva nor did I object to the introduction of a sex offenders registry.
"All I said was that a person cannot be convicted or acquitted twice for the same offence as this contravenes the rule against double jeopardy which is guaranteed under Article 7(2) of the Federal Constitution," he said in a statement today.
Heng had proposed that sex offenders be allowed to be punished more than once for the same offence last Friday, amid calls for the government to enact a sex offenders registry, a mechanism which she said has been introduced under amendments passed to the Child Act 2001.
She made this suggestion in response to the return of Selva, who was suspected of assaulting as many as 1,000 women in Canada, as a "free man" following the completion of his 24 years prison term in Canada.
The 56-year-old was denied parole in 2014 as he was deemed to be a person with a high risk to reoffend.
Ramkarpal had earlier said that Heng's double jeopardy proposal was unconstitutional as Article 7(2) of the Federal Constitution states that a person acquitted or convicted of an offence cannot be tried again for the same offence unless the conviction or acquittal was quashed or a retrial is ordered.
Heng then responded that it was regrettable that the DAP MP had defended Selva, and that Ramkarpal should have criticised Wanita PKR chairperson Zuraida Kamaruddin for making a similar suggestion.
In his statement today, Ramkarpal questioned if Heng was actually criticising the Federal Constitution in her criticism against his stance, as it is stated in the constitution that a person should not be convicted twice for the same offence in Malaysia.
He also said that if Zuraida also shared the same view as Heng that sex offenders ought to be punished twice for the same offence, he would also criticise Zuraida too, regardless of political affiliation.
On Sunday, Zuraida had proposed that Selva be arrested upon arrival from Canada.
Ramkarpal also responded to Heng's criticism on his alleged failure to condemn DAP Selangor assemblyperson Yeo Bee Yin, who had spoken about the delay in implementing a sex offender's registry.
That has nothing to do with the issue of double jeopardy, he said.
"I am unable to detect any indication in Yeo's statement that advocated the abolishment of the rule against double jeopardy as Heng does, and as such, the question of 'rebuking' Yeo as suggested by Heng does not arise," he said.
A convicted sex offender, he said, should be registered on a sex offenders registry in Malaysia, regardless of where he was convicted.
Ramkarpal then reiterated that at no point of time, he had dismissed the introduction of a sex offenders registry in Malaysia.
On the contrary, he added, he had suggested in his previous statement, that all parties, regardless of political affiliations, would be united in the introduction of such a registry.
"It is obvious that I had proposed the same in the interest of safeguarding potential would-be victims of those convicted of sexual offences," he said.- Mkini