MELAKA: The high number of incest cases reported in the state during the movement control order (MCO) period is worrying, says state CID chief Asst Comm Mohd Sukri Kaman.
The cases recorded during the period saw an increase of almost 100% compared with previous years, and most occurred in rural areas.
"The victims are mostly underage girls," he said in an interview.
"It takes a lot of courage on the victim’s part to lodge a police report due to the close relationship," said ACP Mohd Sukri.
Although all the cases have been solved, ACP Mohd Sukri said he is willing to work with stakeholders to create awareness programmes, adding that most of the cases were allegedly committed by stepfathers.
He said urban areas saw fewer reports, and this could probably be due to the victim's reluctance in putting her own family member behind bars, or to maintain the family's reputation.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali thanked the police for acting swiftly on cases that were reported.
He said the matter will be discussed with the executive councillor in charge of women and family.
Sulaiman urged family members knowing what was happening - but did not make any report for fear of losing the breadwinner - must realise that they were bound by law to report it to the police.
Failure to inform the police of the crime or the intention of any person to commit sexual offences against children is punishable under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act.
Section 19 of the Act states that anyone convicted of failure to inform the police is committing an offence and upon conviction, is liable to a fine not exceeding RM5,000.
"The role of the community, including parents, in reporting such cases is imperative to ensure victims don't suffer in silence," said Sulaiman.