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'Child Act amendments insuficient, laws against paedophilia and child porn needed'

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is deeply concerned that hundreds of children aged between six months and 12 years were sexually abused, raped and/or sexually assaulted in Malaysia by a British paedophile between 2006 and 2014 as reported by the media.

The commission has repeatedly urged the government to amend existing laws to address all forms of sexual offences against children, and despite recent and positive amendments to the Child Act 2001, several matters of concern remain:

(i) Having ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Malaysia must undertake to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse which includes the exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.

However, specific legislative measures have not been taken to prohibit among others, the possession of child pornography and activities relating to the making or dissemination of child pornographic material.

The commission reiterates that specific provisions must be enacted to criminalise the acts of child sexual predators such as paedophiles; as well as the publication, possession and distribution of child pornography.

(ii) Malaysia has an obligation under Article 3 of The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography 2000 to ensure that, as a minimum, the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography are fully covered under its criminal or penal laws, whether these offences are committed domestically or transnationally, or on an individual or organised basis.

(iii) While certain sexual offences against children can be prosecuted under the Penal Code as unnatural offences under Section 377B and 377C, or inciting a child to acts of gross indecency under Section 377E, there is a lack of explicit provisions concerning paedophilia.

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