By Muhammad Ammar Syafiq Hamzah
KUALA LUMPUR: The setting up of a sex offender registry will enable authorities to monitor the movement of sex offenders and address increasing cases of child abuse, says an expert.
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) Faculty of Syariah and Law Dean, Dr Syahirah Abdul Shukor said with current technology, it was crucial for not only childcare centres and organisations, but also the community (in the housing area) to have a database to screen those intending to work with children.
She said potential applicants for a job should be screened and identified by the employers on whether they were linked to any sexual offence.
“By having sex offenders and predators recorded in a register, they can be closely monitored, tracked and prevented from repeating their offences,” she told Bernama when contacted here today.
Recently, paedophile Richard Huckle was given 22 life sentences by a court in London for sexually violating 23 children and babies in Malaysia, as well as children in Cambodia for almost a decade.
Reuters reported that Huckle, 30, would be in jail for at least 23 years for the crimes he committed on children aged between six months and 12 years, who were from poor families in Kuala Lumpur.
Huckle pleaded guilty to 71 offences and police found more than 20,000 pornographic images of children in his computer and camera when he was arrested at Gatwick Airport in London in 2014.
British media reported that Huckle, a freelance photographer had abused up to 200 children aged between six months and 12 years from 2006 to 2014.
Dr Syahirah, who has been conducting research on children sexually abused via the Internet since 2005, by comparing the legal approaches under United Kingdom and Malaysian laws, said rehabilitation programmes for sexual offenders should also be emphasised and given priority so that they could improve themselves.
“They also need support from society to overcome their problem,” she added.
Meanwhile, United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Vice-Chairman, Datuk Yasmeen Muhamad Shariff said close cooperation among the international police forces in sharing information and intelligence on sex offenders was imperative to keep tabs on whether a paedophile was heading to Malaysia.
“We have many travellers coming to Malaysia and once they cross the Malaysian Immigration, no one knows where they are headed for. How the Malaysian police track down these people and keep tabs on them should also be addressed.
“We must always keep pushing forward the boundaries for child protection and child rights. There is never enough that we can do for children,” she noted.