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Judicial CP - October 2000

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New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, 17 October 2000

Stiffer punishment for hiring child prostitutes

THE Child Bill 2000 which is expected to be passed by the Dewan Rakyat [Parliament - C.F.] without any amendment, will see stiffer punishment, including mandatory caning and jail term, for those who sell or hire a child for prostitution, either within or outside the country.

Those who commit the offence are liable to a maximum jail sentence of 15 years, a RM50,000 fine and mandatory six strokes of the rotan.

At present, for the above offence a person is only liable to imprisonment of a term not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or both.

Anyone convicted for a second or subsequent offences is liable to whipping of not more than 10 strokes of the rotan.

The proposed punishment is also applicable to those who procure a child for sexual prostitution or sexual intercourse with any other person, bring or assist in bringing into, or take out or assist in taking out of Malaysia, a child for prostitution.

A person who detains a child in a brothel also commits an offence and can be convicted under the same penalty.

The National Unity and Social Development Minister Datuk Siti Zaharah Sulaiman said the new provisions would give better protection to children.

"The current laws do not provide any provision to enable us to take action against those who exploit women and children and this creates the perception that the Acts are gender-biased.

"This is because action is taken against the women while the men who actually use their services go scot-free," she said when tabling the Bill for the second reading at the Dewan Rakyat.

Siti Zaharah said the Bill sought to replace the Juvenile Courts Act 1947, the Women and Girls Protection Act 1973 and the Child Protection Act 1991.

It also seeks to amend and consolidate the existing laws relating to the care, protection and rehabilitation of children and to introduce new and better provisions so that children are given the protection and assistance that they require.

Copyright © The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad, Balai Berita 31, Jalan Riong, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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