More amendments to laws related to sexual offences against children, says Azalina

KUALA LUMPUR: A mandatory obligation for Internet service providers (ISPs) to block any child sexual abuse material is among the proposals for phase two of the amendments to the laws related to sexual offences against children.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, in a statement, said that it was targeted to be tabled in the next Parliament meeting, taking into account the views of Civil Society Organisations, the Children's Commissioner, academic experts and other stakeholders.

She said that another proposal was to expand the use of mandatory pre-trial hearings for cases involving children, to encourage judicial officers handling cases involving children to be more proactive, and to set basic rules or methods for children giving evidence.

It will also introduce a new provision to recognise the competency of children to testify, to replace the provision for children who are still in tender years.

The proposed amendment also relates to the abolition of the mandatory support requirement for all children's evidence, so that it is accepted in the same way as other evidence, as well as the abolition of the requirement of a transcript in the original language provided by the child during the video recording.

"However, these proposals will continue to be studied in depth, and engagement sessions with all relevant stakeholders and experts will continue to be carried out before the next Parliament meeting,” she said.

According to her, the government is also in the process of drafting a special Bill to establish an independent Children's Commissioner's Office, as agreed by the Cabinet.

"The Madani government does not compromise on sexual crimes against children, and sees that the amendment to these laws is a strong step in the effort to combat sexual crimes against children in Malaysia," she said.

The government also calls on the public to make a report at the nearest police station if they know of a case of sexual crime against children or contact Talian Kasih at 15999.

The Sexual Offences Against Children (Amendment) Bill 2023 and the Evidence of Child Witness (Amendment) Bill 2023 were passed in the Dewan Negara today (April 6). - Bernama

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