KUALA LUMPUR: DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh called on the government to amend Section 376 of the Penal Code to provide for the death penalty for child rapists.
Karpal said Saturday that, although he had been an advocate for the abolition of the death penalty, the almost daily occurrences of crimes against children, in particular, instances of rape against them, should prompt the government to act in the public interest and introduce bold and effective measures.
"This is to send a clear message to would-be offenders that the law will not tolerate the rape of innocent children anymore," he said in a statement here Saturday.
Karpal said the recent alleged rape of a 10-year-old girl while being driven from school in a school bus by the driver brought into sharp focus the dire necessity of reviewing the penalty for such offences.
He said the punishment for rape of a child under the age of 12 under Section 376(2)(e) of the Penal Code was a term of imprisonment which might extend to 30 years together with whipping. Undoubtedly, he said, the guilt of the accused must be proven beyond any reasonable doubt.
In cases where an accused was caught red-handed in the act, supported by the evidence of credible eye witnesses, there should be no difficulty in proving the case beyond reasonable doubt, he said.
"I am mindful of the danger of the execution of an innocent man. The execution of the death penalty is irreversible. The horror suffered by an innocent man condemned to death at the instance of the State is beyond imagination," he said.
However, he said the magnitude of the offence of rape of an innocent child in broad daylight, spotted by eye witnesses “must attract the need to amend the law.” - Bernama
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