save malaysia!

Azalina: New offences of livestreaming sex, sexual blackmailing of children; jail penalties proposed

Publish date: Thu, 23 Mar 2023, 03:53 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — The Malaysian government plans to make it a crime to livestream sex, and also wants to make it a crime to threaten and extort a child by using sexual photos, minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said today.

Azalina, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform), said these proposed law amendments will be tabled next Monday in Parliament to address new online sexual-related threats to children due to the development of technology.

Sexual abuse involving children used to be available through the “dark web” but is now a threat widely accessible online with just a click on the phone or on websites, Azalina said.

She said livestreaming sex could happen when a child is at home and has access to a laptop or handphone, and that sexual extortion could also happen online when children give out sexual photos of themselves.

“Why it becomes sexual extortion? Sometimes, someone on the other side pretends to be someone, asks for a picture, they give out the picture, then the child will be threatened for extortion — ‘if you don’t give me money or more pictures or have sex with me, I will expose you to the world’,” she told the media during an engagement session on the planned new laws in Parliament here.

“This usually happens among friends in school so we have to inform them this is not allowed, this is an offence,” she said.

“So in school sometimes, boyfriends, girlfriends, when they break up, they start throwing pictures and say, ‘Well, now you are not with me, I will tell the world’. It’s an offence, it will put you in prison, we don’t care how old you are.

“That’s why this new amendment, we will start talking to the community, Rukun Tetangga and schools. It cannot stay as it is on the amendment without getting public understanding and participation. That’s where the child commissioner comes in, we have to really promote the issue,” she said.

Currently, Azalina said the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 (SOAC) already criminalises non-physical sexual assault on a child. This existing offence is punishable by a maximum 10-year jail term or maximum RM20,000 fine or both.

In the proposed amendments to the SOAC to be tabled next Monday, Azalina said the proposed new offence of livestreaming sex would cover actions such as participating, promoting, organising or receiving money. She mentioned 20 years’ jail or a RM50,000 fine as the penalties for such an offence.

Azalina said the government will also propose a 10-year jail term for offenders of the proposed new offence of sexual extortion, where sexual images of a child are used to blackmail the child into sending money, more photos or videos or have sex with the perpetrator.

Unicef Malaysia’s chief of child protection Saskia Blume, who was present at the media engagement, said the Asean region is a hotspot for livestreaming sex, and that the Philippines had last year introduced a new law to clamp down on such activities.

She said that perpetrators would look for a new place that might have more lenient laws, especially after a neighbouring country introduces restrictive laws against such livestreaming activities.

“So it’s really timely and important that this is being addressed right now, because livestreaming is really the trend that we are seeing is putting children at really high risks,” she said.

Selvi Supramaniam, Unicef Malaysia’s child protection specialist, also said: “Especially foreign perpetrators, they will look at which country has less enforcement or weaker laws, they will come and move target countries.”

Be the first to like this. Showing 0 of 0 comments

Post a Comment