Create children’s commissioner

LONDON: A children’s commissioner should be created to monitor, coordinate and review laws on child sexual crimes, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (pic).

She added that the commissioner, who would be independent, would not only study the laws, but also the element and policy of the laws on child sexual crimes.

The need to establish a children’s commissioner would be tabled before the Cabinet next week following the visit to the Children’s Court in India and Britain, she said here yesterday.

Azalina, together with the Prime Minister’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, who is Permata Negara patron, and Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, visited the Stratford Magistrate’s Court, which is also designated as a Domestic Violence Court.

Besides following proceedings at the court, they were also briefed by legal prosecution manager Paul Okebu on the handling of cases involving child sexual crimes.

They also held discussions with officers at the Crown Prosecution Service on the matter.

Azalina had earlier visited India to look at the implementation of the Children’s Court there.

On the setting up of Malaysia’s first Children’s Court at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, Azalina said the court would begin operations in June and handle child sexual crime cases in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

For the purpose, she said courses would be conducted for Sessions Court judges and the prosecutors from today.

Azalina said efforts would also be made to bring experts on child sexual crimes from India and Britain to share their experiences with Malaysian judges and prosecutors.

“Those handling sexual crime cases, including the defence, should always enhance their skills as the cases are handled differently from existing court cases,” she said.

On her observation on the handling of such cases in London, she said statements from the affected child were recorded promptly and then kept for use when the case came up before the court.

Following a seminar on child sexual crimes organised by Permata last March, a law on sexual offences against children was passed by Parliament last month. — Bernama