Call for more consultative and systematic involvement of all sectors of society which will have the educational effect of creating more informed awareness among the people about causes of sexual crimes than just gruesome media reports about sexual violence against women and children
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The call by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to the media to highlight cases of rape and sexual violence to create anger and hatred towards such offences should be food for thought and informed debate in our society.
Abdullah is right that unless sex offences are given due coverage, the people might have the perception that the cases were isolated ones when they were becoming a trend.
However, the extensive media coverage of sexual violence and offences in all their gruesome details would not on its own go very far to create the conditions necessary to engender the consciousness and awareness to bring about the political and public will to turn the tide against such crimes.
In fact, just having tougher laws by enhancing sentences and punishments for such heinous crimes will not on their own successfully address and resolve this dangerous sickness in our society.
Abdullah is on the right track in involving NGOs and interested parties from all levels of society in drafting laws governing sexual violence and crimes.
What is urgently need is a more consultative and systematic involvement of all sectors of society which will have the educational effect of creating more informed awareness among the people about the causes of sexual crimes than just gruesome media reports about sexual violence against women and children.
Such systematic consultative process should be embedded in at least two levels, firstly, in the drafting of a Bill by the departments or Ministries concerned for presentation to Parliament; and secondly, through an all-party Parliamentary Select Committee to hold public hearings and consultations on the Bill after it has been presented to Parliament for first or second reading, but before final passage by the House.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor