PETALING JAYA: A proposal from MCA for convicted serial rapist Selva Kumar Subbiah and other sex offenders to face charges for the same offence twice has been shot down by DAP MP Ramkarpal Singh.
In a statement, Ramkarpal, a lawyer, said such a move was not only unconstitutional but also dangerous “as this may be abused and may result in repeated convictions of offenders for the same offence with no end in sight”.
Yesterday, Wanita MCA chief Heng Seai Kie called for a new law which would see sex offenders who committed their crimes overseas to be tried in Malaysia as well.
She said this when commenting on the return of Malaysian Selva Kumar. The 56 year-old, dubbed “Canada’s worst rapist”, will return to Malaysia from Canada this weekend after spending 24 years in jail there.
Ramkarpal said there was no doubt that sexual offences are possibly “the most heinous of crimes” which should be severely punished but Heng’s suggestion can’t be entertained as it went against Article 7 (2) of the Federal Constitution.
Article 7 (2) of the Federal Constitution states that “a person acquitted or convicted of an offence shall not be tried again for the same offence except where the conviction or acquittal has been quashed and a retrial ordered by a court superior to that by which he was acquitted or convicted”.
This rule – known as double jeopardy – was a constitutional guarantee that no one could be tried for the same offence twice.
Ramkarpal said abolishing the double jeopardy rule required a constitutional amendment.
“Heng and the MCA should concentrate on efforts to avoid the recurrence of sexual offences such as, perhaps, the introduction of a national registry of sex offenders or placing tracking devices on repeat offenders to ascertain their whereabouts.
“There can be no doubt that all parties, regardless of political affiliation, would be united in such a cause but demanding the abolishment of the rule against double jeopardy is certainly a step in the wrong direction.”
Selva Kumar returns to Malaysia as a free man this weekend but the police have said they would monitor him.