Azalina calls on MPs to support Sexual Offences Against Children Bill

KUALA LUMPUR: Every member of parliament should support the Sexual Offences Against Children (Amendment) Bill 2023.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Said said the amendment was important to give a stern and clear message that online 'sextortion' and live-streaming sex activities involving children won't be tolerated.

"What's scarier for children is that when the preparator is a family member. If the law is flexible, the abuse (involving children) will continue especially when it is disabled.

"The children may not vote for us but the people did and we have an obligation as an MP.

"Hence, I urge all MPs to support the amendment as we need to give a stern message that this government will not tolerate such conduct," she said in a briefing session for MPs in Parliament, today.

Azalina added that the second reading for the amendment of the Act is expected to be tabled on Wednesday, March 29.

She added that the current Act did not have the provision to protect children from their perpetrators, especially if it is someone that they know.

"We have not addressed whereby if the perpetrators are their friends or a classmate they know.

"Hence, these are the things where a strong message needs to be included. Whoever you are, no matter if you are a Grade A student or not, the government and the law are going to be very strict to punish you.

"If you have the intention to sell (pornographic material) and cyberbully, this is something we have to come down hard on."

Earlier today, Azalina tabled the Sexual Offences Against Children (Amendment) Bill 2023 in the Dewan Rakyat.

The first Bill will make live-streaming sexual acts and online extortion involving children a crime as well as replacing the term "child pornography" with "child abuse sexual material" in the parent Act.

Those convicted of live-streaming sex involving children can face a jail sentence of not exceeding 20 years and RM50,000 fine while those convicted of sextortion can be jailed for up to 10 years.

Meanwhile, she also tabled the proposed amendment to the Evidence of Child Witness (Amendment) Bill 2023, which will increase the age of a child witness from 16 to 18.

If approved, the amendments will protect a child witness from being badgered in court with insulting, intimidating, harassing, annoying, oppressive or needlessly repetitive questions.

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