Amend legal definition of rape, says Fatimah

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 27 Jul 2016

Datuk Fatimah Abdullah

KUCHING: A state minister wants the legal definition of rape to be amended soonest, following the gazetting of the Child Act (Amendment) 2015.

Women, Welfare and Community Wellbeing Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said it would be “disappointing” if the amendments to the Child Act did not include a broader definition of rape.

She said her ministry had been pursuing this matter since the Court of Appeal’s acquittal of a 60-year-old man in the “finger rape” case last year.

“The perpetrator was let off because the definition of rape only covered penile penetration.

“I wrote a letter on behalf of the state government to the Attorney-General to review the definition of rape so that there will be justice for the victims.

“The reply we received then was that comprehensive amendments would be made to the Child Act.

“Now it has been gazetted but it does not include the definition of rape. Of course that would be very disappointing to us.

“We are still waiting for the definition to be amended. Maybe it will be done through an amendment to the Penal Code,” Fatimah said after presenting assistance to storm victims here yesterday.

The Child Act (Amendment) was gazetted on Monday with four main amendments – an expanded Child Registry, heavier penalties for abuse or neglect of children, community service order for children involved in crime and parents or guardians who abuse or neglect their children, and family-based care for abandoned children.

Fatimah said the “finger rape” case showed that the current definition was “too specific”.

“We want the perpetrators to be punished accordingly. We do not want them to be let off the hook because of the definition. That is unfair to the victim,” she added.

In the “finger rape” case, Bunya Jalong was acquitted of raping a minor in Sibu in 2011 after claiming in his defence that he impregnated her by inserting his semen-smeared finger. The girl gave birth on Feb 5, 2012 and a DNA test confirmed Bunya as the baby’s father.

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