The Malaysian government announced on Tuesday the launch of a registry for perpetrators of child sex crimes, which already includes the names of about 3,000 reported offenders between 2017 and February 18 this year.
The registry, which is to roll out on April 1, is recommended to parents, schools and daycare centers to screen prospective employees who could be hired to care for their children, the Nanyang Siang Pau (Malaysia) reported.
Hannah Yeoh, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Women, Community and Family Development, said the registry aimed at assisting parents and those in children-based industries to help filter out repeat sexual offenders from coming into contact with potential victims.
The registry would be considered the first phase of combating sex crimes against children, and tightening of related laws including the Children Act 2001 would be expected soon by the government, she added.
At present, the registry is not available online. Applicants who want to verify if an individual has committed a sexual offense against children would have to fill in a form and state their relationship to the individual at the department’s state office, or the department district office.
If the individual in question has no offenses, a letter would be issued on the same day stating that no offenses were recorded. However, if he or she has a record, the department has to conduct further checks to verify if he or she has an ongoing appeal in court over their conviction.
Yeoh appealed to the public to always remain vigilant, even if someone had no prior record of child sex crimes, as statistics showed that a vast majority of those on the registry were first-time offenders.