Be bold with sex education, says don

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PETALING JAYA: An educationist anticipating the passage of the Child Sexual Crime Bill has called for boldness in introducing sex education in schools.

Teo Kok Seong, a professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said the subject should be unabashedly called “Sex Education” to emphasise what it’s about so that children would get the clear message that they must protect themselves from paedophiles and the so-called Dark Web.

“If it’s called by any other name, the message will remain indirect,” he told FMT.

“Our society cannot be conservative. Times have changed. Kids as young as five know how to use the internet now.”

The bill, which was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat, is aimed at, among other things, increasing the protection of children from sexual criminals.

Teo welcomed the government’s demonstration of its earnestness in combating child sex abuse and said that same seriousness should now be reflected in the education system.

Meanwhile, Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching, who has often raised issues on children’s rights in the Dewan Rakyat, said gynaecologist Maimunah Fadzil had told her that at least three children were treated for sexual abuse every week at Malacca Hospital, where she works.

According to Maimunah, Nie Ching said, the number would usually rise during school holidays and festive periods, when children spent more time at home. The gynaecologist also said that in most cases, children became “addicted” to being sexually abused.

“Prevention plays an important role,” said the MP. “Sex cannot be a taboo subject because children need to be protected.”

Reuters reported last year that 12,987 cases of child sexual abuse were reported to Malaysian police between January 2012 and July 2016. Charges were filed in 2,189 cases, resulting in only 140 convictions.