Are we ready for Selva Kumar’s return?


PETALING JAYA: Convicted serial rapist Selva Kumar Subbiah will be back in Malaysia this weekend but questions remain over how exactly he would be monitored and if he will be rehabilitated.

The 56-year-old Selva will return to Malaysia as a free man.

While police have said they would monitor the man, dubbed “Canada’s worst rapist”, a local NGO wants the authorities to explain how Selva – and other sex offenders like him – are handled after their time in prison is over.

“What is the exact structure in place to monitor people like this? Is there a way for the authorities to keep track of their movements?

“How are they monitored? How often are they monitored?” questioned Madeleine Yong, the founder of Protect and Save the Children (PS The Children), an NGO which combats sexual abuse against children.

In an interview with FMT, Yong also questioned what rehabilitation programmes the authorities had planned for Selva.

“We need to have these monitoring and rehabilitation structures in place and the public must know about them.

“Every time a sexual offender makes the headlines, people start to call for a sex offender registry. But a sex offender registry alone will not ensure the public’s safety.”

In 2015, news reports about Nur Fitri Azmeer Noordin, a Mara scholar convicted in the United Kingdom for possession of child pornography, led to renewed calls for a sex offender registry.

Last month, deputy home minister Nur Jazlan Mohamad said a sex offender registry was “very much needed” in Malaysia.

Yong said a publicly available sex offender registry wouldn’t help prevent a sex offender from committing another offence and may even make it easy for acts of vigilantism to be carried out.

What is more important, she said, is to change behaviour, attitudes and approaches in managing sex offenders and ending child sexual abuse.

“Malaysia has seen so many high-profile sex offender cases over the years, but has it changed our attitudes? Are people more cautious?

“Do they take a greater interest in the topic or come up with better strategies to combat sexual abuse?”

She said attitudes and behaviour towards sexual offences, especially against children, needed to be changed.

Yong said education on preventing child sexual abuse and exploitation should be in every college so that graduates are able to understand the dynamics of the issue and be more effective in detecting and stopping abuse.

“Most importantly, people must want to do something about it rather than minding their own business.

“The conviction to collaborate, to have multi-sectoral views, and new innovations to free children from violence needs to be there.”

Earlier this week, it was reported that Selva Kumar, was convicted in 1992 at two separate trials for drugging and sexually assaulting 30 women.

He will return to Malaysia this weekend, accompanied by three Canadian Border Services Agency guards.