Speed up review of rape laws, A-G’s Chambers told


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 22 Feb 2004

PETALING JAYA: The Government has directed the Attorney-General's Chambers to hasten the review of rape laws following the decision of a High Court on Tuesday in acquitting a contractor of the rape of a 14-year-old girl. 

“The decision of Justice S. Augustine Paul has thrown open the question of reasonable doubt,” said Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim. 

“We have no alternative but to assert the view that there has to be a broader definition of rape and penetration in our laws,” he told The Star

“I have written to the Chambers requesting they hasten their review,” said the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, who had announced on Feb 7 that the Government might expand the definition of rape. 

Apart from testifying that she felt something inside her, the girl, who is 17 years old now, could not state affirmatively during the trial that Nasrul Annuar had penetrated her vagina with his penis. 

Under existing rape laws, penile penetration is necessary to prove sexual intercourse. The doctor who had examined the girl had only confirmed that a blunt object had caused a tear in the girl's hymen but did not identify it as the male organ. 

Justice Paul, in allowing Nasrul's appeal against conviction and a seven-year jail sentence, had placed the shortcomings of the case squarely on the police and the Chambers. 

“It is not the girl's fault that she lost her case. The fault should lie with the investigating and prosecuting authorities.” 

In November last year, the Anti-Rape Task Force – comprising the All Women's Action Society, Women's Centre for Change, Sisters in Islam, Women’s Aid Organisation and P.S. the Children – submitted a memorandum on proposed amendments to rape laws to the PM's Department, Women and Family Development Ministry and the Chambers. 

The proposed amendments include: 

  • EXPANDING the definition of rape in the Penal Code to take into account insertion of the penis into the vagina, anus and mouth, and insertion of any part of the body or an object into the vaginal or anal orifice except when such insertion is made strictly for medical purposes by a medical practitioner;  

  • REMOVING the requirement in the Evidence Act that child evidence must be corroborated; and  

  • CREATING a body to compensate rape survivors. 

     

    Related story:Deal with the issue broadly 

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