Show concern over rape laws, agencies told

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 10 Sep 2003

PETALING JAYA: Government agencies must show more commitment to ensure that amendments to rape laws are carried out quickly, said All Women's Action Society (Awam) vice-president Judith Koh. 

“Agencies like the Attorney-General's chambers and the Women and Family Development Ministry should look into the laws. But maybe they do not see it as an issue. 

“It is a very important issue because it involves, among others, the safety of women, especially now with the number of rape cases happening everywhere – at home, workplace or public places,” she told reporters. 

Koh made the comments following the cancellation of a programme to hand over a memorandum on proposed amendments to laws related to rape by the Anti-Rape Task Force. 

The cancellation was due to the absence of representatives from the AG's office, the ministry and Prime Minister's Department. 

Only the Bar Council was represented. 

The task force is made up of women NGOs, including Awam, Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), Women's Centre for Change, Women's Development Council and Sisters In Islam. 

They are pushing for amendments to the Penal Code, Evidence Act and Criminal Procedure Code. 

Koh said the task force would forward the memorandum to the three agencies later and hoped that it could be tabled during the current Dewan Rakyat sitting. 

WAO executive director Ivy Josiah said that the task force hoped to have a consultative process with those drafting the amendments. 

“A process like this will ensure that all will be consulted,” she said. 

The proposed amendments include calling for a wider definition of rape to take into account the various types of sexual violation and the aggravated situations in rape cases, making marital rape an offence by removing the existing protection given to husbands, impose increased penalty for second or subsequent rape offences and mandatory rehabilitative counselling for convicted rapists. 

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