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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Azalina: Child commissioner needed to monitor sex crime laws

A child commissioner should be established to monitor, coordinate and review laws on child sexual crimes.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said said the commissioner, who would move independently, would not only study the rules of the laws, but also in terms of element and policy of the laws on child sexual crimes.
The need to establish a child commissioner would be tabled before the cabinet next week, following the visit to the Children’s Court in India and the United Kingdom, she told Malaysian reporters in London yesterday.
Azalina, together with the prime minister’s wife Rosmah Mansor, who is also Permata Negara patron, and Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim, visited the Stratford Magistrate’s Court, which is also designated as a Domestic Violence Court.
Besides following proceedings at the court, they were also briefed by the court’s legal prosecution manager, Paul Okebu, on handling of cases involving child sexual crimes.
They also held discussions with officers at the Crown Prosecution Service on the matter.
The Malaysian entourage also included Malaysian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi and Communications and Multimedia Ministry secretary-general Sharifah Zarah Syed Ahmad.
Before going to London, Azalina went to India to look at the implementation of the Children’s Court in the country.
On the setting up of Malaysia’s first Children’s Court, which would be at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, Azalina said the court, which would begin operation in June, would handle child sexual crime cases in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
For the purpose, she said,courses would be conducted for Sessions Court judges and the prosecutors, beginning tomorrow.
Experts from India, UK to be consulted
Azalina said efforts would also be made to bring experts on child sexual crimes from India and the United Kingdom to share their experiences with the Malaysian judges and prosecutors.
Those handling such sexual crime cases, including the defence, should always enhance their skills as the cases are handled differently from existing court cases, she said.
On her observation on the handling of such cases in London, she said the statement from the affected child was recorded promptly and then kept for use when the case came up before the court.
She said Rosmah’s presence during the visit was because Permata was the catalyst that stirred awareness on child sexual crimes.
Following a seminar on child sexual crimes organised by Permata last March, a law on sexual offences against children was passed by Parliament last month.

Permata, which is also involved in early education for nursery and kindergarten children, is the best platform to create awareness and understanding among children on the child sexual crimes.
Meanwhile, Sharifah Zarah said the Communications and Multimedia Ministry was preparing a communication plan to create understanding in the society on child sexual abuse.
She said the ministry was preparing various forms of media to be distributed to the people for the purpose.
- Bernama

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