Teo urges Azalina to be inclusive on sexual grooming Bill

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KUALA LUMPUR: Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching has urged Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Azalina Othman Said, to be more inclusive and open on a proposed Bill to criminalize sexual grooming.

“The war against sexual grooming was apolitical,” said the MP in a statement. “Opposition MPs should be consulted on the proposed Bill.

Azalina, as Chairlady of the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus, should know that female MPs can put political differences aside, she added. “We can work together in the interest of women and children.”

There’s no need to keep the Opposition in the dark until the Bill is tabled in Parliament, cautioned Teo.

She noted that grooming cases had risen 1000 per cent since 2008 in Australia, for example, and 32 per cent a year in the UK.

However, she lamented, there were no statistics on sexual grooming cases in Malaysia.

“Sexual grooming is not a crime in our country,” she agreed. “Nonetheless, police statistics show that chat apps are now the number one modus operandi for sexual predators.”

“This indicates that sexual grooming was on the rise in Malaysia as well.”

She recalled that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, when launching the National Women’s Day 2016 on August 25, expressed concern on the number of cases involving abuse and rape of children.

“Najib announced the immediate establishment of a task force headed by Azalina to review and examine issues related to sex crimes, particularly rape involving children,” she reminded.

The Special Task Force has met only twice, 6 September 2016 and 4 October 2016.

The MP learnt that a draft legal framework on sexual crime against children was presented to the Special Task Force on October 4. The framework covers various sexual crimes against children. These include child pornography, online and offline sexual child grooming.

The 6 September and 4 October meetings were attended by representatives from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, the police, the Bar Council and various NGOs and Unicef.