Lembah Pantai parliamentarian Nurul Izzah Anwar has questioned the Education Ministry’s refusal to act on an alleged sexual abuse case involving a private religious school in Perak.
The PKR vice-president said it was disappointing that the ministry used the fact that the case is under the state government’s purview, as an excuse not to interfere in the matter.
“It is true that the district education department oversees the education at the state level, but when a sexual abuse crisis like this occurs, there needs to be national collaboration, whereby the federal government comes forward with proposed solutions and plans of improvement,” said Nurul Izzah in a statement.
Last Sunday, Perak police reportedly confirmed that its investigation into claims of sexual abuse at a religious school had been completed.
This was after the allegations went viral on social media.
Nurul Izzah said that the allegations of sexual abuse are proof that shortcomings exist in Malaysia’s legal system.
“Victims and their parents have no platform to submit their complaint and this brings us to the next question.
“How many more have yet to come forward with their complaints?” she asked.
Nurul Izzah reminded the ministry of Richard Huckle, the Briton who had confessed to 71 counts of sexual abuse of children, mostly in Malaysia.
She also noted police statistics in 2012 that recorded 5,000 cases of sexual abuse, 65 percent of which involve children under the age of 18.
She urged the ministry to protect all Malaysian school children from sexual crimes by increasing monitoring of all schools.
She also suggested that the government come up with a standard operating procedure on how to handle such cases, and provide counselling support to victims and their families.
The government should also address the unequal distribution of resources in schools, and ensure stringent vetting of teachers, to ensure the safety of the children, she said.