Tell your kids it’s okay to say no, lawyer says on child sodomy case

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer has called on parents to teach their children that some parts of the body are private, in the wake of reports that a tahfiz school warden was arrested for allegedly sodomising two boys.

“They need to know that these aren’t for the whole world to see or touch,” Samantha Chong told FMT.

“It’s okay to say no.”

She also advised parents not to force their children to show affection by hugging or kissing relatives, or sitting on someone’s lap.

“A high-five might be more appropriate,” she said. “Children get a say in what happens to their bodies.”

According to the police, the warden, a 28-year-old man from Bandar Baharu in Kulim, Kedah, admitted to sodomising, molesting and sexually disturbing his victims who were between nine and 15 years of age.

He has been remanded until May 17.

Chong said often, abusers will threaten children, saying they will hurt either them or their parents if they speak up.

“Tell your child it is okay to lie to the abuser and immediately report the incident to you.

“You will protect him or her and make sure that the abuser is arrested,” she said.

For suspects who are charged in court, she said, additional conditions can be imposed for bail, restricting them from working with children pending their trial.

“Alternatively, the deputy public prosecutor can suggest that the court deny them bail. Then they will be kept in remand,” she said.

Chong added that Section 16 of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act allowed the court to sentence someone in a position of trust with the victim to up to five years in prison and at least two strokes of the cane, aside from any other punishment that might be meted out.