PETALING JAYA: Religious leaders have joined the nationwide outrage against gruesome sex crimes, particularly involving young victims.
The challenge for the authorities, they said, was not just scathing denunciation of the crime but solutions to wipe out the menace and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We need to take a holistic approach through religious, moral and ethical values to resolve this problem,” said National Fatwa Council chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Ibrahim.
He said public caning could not guarantee that the despicable act would be stopped, citing that capital punishment against drug pushers had not stopped the menace.
He said the education system had not been able to inject moral and ethical values in children as the system places more importance on getting good grades.
The Ven Dr K. Sri Dhammananda of the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in Brickfields said current lifestyles coupled with a lack of discipline could arouse the criminal nature.
“People would not be able to control themselves and would give in to temptation if they are not grounded with strong values,” he said. He said moral values should be taught from the very beginning, first at home, and then in schools.
Rev Dr Herman Shastri of the Malaysian Council of Churches praised the authorities for their swift action in nabbing offenders and the government’s openness to shed light on the issue of child rape.
“Unfortunately, we cannot stop it. So, the authorities and the public will have to be watchful and be alert to potential rapists,” he said, adding that the proposed rape registry to monitor sex offenders was a good idea.
Dr John Gurusamy, co-ordinator of the Malaysian Interfaith Network and secretary of the Council of Churches of Selangor and the Federal Territory, said there was a breakdown in religious values.
He added, however, that other matters needed to be looked into, such as whether the family unit was strong and the core values of compassion, gender equality and respect for another human had been inculcated and whether a perpetrator was sick or a drug addict.
Malaysia Hindu Sangam president Datuk A. Vaithi Lingam said he was concerned over the increase in rape cases, especially when they involved pre-pubescent children.
“A study must be made to understand such behaviour to come up with preventative actions,” he said.
Sathya Sai Council spokesman Datuk J. Jegathesan said: “We have to know why this is happening and prevent these incidences from occurring.”
On the proposed registry, Jegathesan questioned whether the move would address fundamental issues related to the behavioural aspects of rape.