Thursday, February 9, 2017

MCA Heng's Should Not Be Confused Between Double Jeopardy and Sex Offender Registry.

Media Statement by Yeo Bee Yin, State Assemblywoman for Damansara Utama on Wednesday, 8 February 2017 in Petaling Jaya.

What has MCA Wanita Chairwoman Datuk Heng Seai Kie done for the establishment of Sex Offenders’ Registry when she was the Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development?

First of all, I welcome the reply from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development that agreed on my call to expedite the establishment of a sex offenders’ registry[i]. However, I would like the ministry to give us a deadline as to when this can be established.

Furthermore, I am totally dumbfounded by MCA Wanita chairwoman Datuk Heng Seai Kie’s response to my colleague MP for Gelugor Ramkarpal Singh on double jeopardy law. She conveniently quoted my position on sex offenders’ registry to suit her argument on double jeopardy[ii]. It seems that she is confused between double jeopardy law and sex offenders’ registry!

Picture Source: Free Malaysia Today

First and foremost, I would like to remind Datuk Heng that she was once the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development. What has she done for the establishment of sex offenders’ registry when she was a Deputy Minister? And just in case she does not remember, her MCA colleague Chew Mei Fun, is now the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development. It is laughable that the MCA women’s wing actually has the cheek to be proud to be the first women’s wing to call for enforcement of a sex offenders’ registry. With the positions they have held in the government for so many years, they should have gotten this done a long time ago!

In addition, I would like to clarify with Datuk Heng that the establishment of  a sex offenders’ registry does not violate the Federal Constitution; hence there is no need for Ramkarpal to “rebuke me”. All convicted sex offenders, who reside in Malaysia, can and should be registered in the sex offenders’ registry regardless of where the crime was committed. This is so all sex offenders can be monitored properly. How a sex offenders’ registry should work depends on the legislation that provides it. However, despite many years of activists and politicians calling for the establishment of a sex offenders’ registry, the related law is still not in existence.

Last but not least, it is shameful that Datuk Heng quoted Richard Huckle’s case in her statement. I would like to remind her that Richard Huckle went undetected and roamed free in Malaysia for 9 years even though he violated at least 70 of our young girls here in that span of time. He was detected by Australian investigators due to his online activities and was arrested by the British police in December 2014 when he went home for Christmas. He was charged only in the British court. Huckle’s case is a painful reminder to all of us that there is still a lot for us to do to protect our women and girls, and that there is an urgent need to strengthen our criminal justice system in Malaysia.

If Datuk Heng is really concerned about sex crime, and since her party is in the government, I would like to propose that she helps to set-up a bi-partisan committee in Putrajaya, which includes not only concerned politicians from both sides of the political divide but also women activists and government officials. This committee should review all the existing laws and propose the amendments needed to the parliament. It should also come out with a holistic action plan against sexual crime that involves all relevant government agencies and monitor the progress of the execution of such plans. I will be very glad to be a member of such committee.