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Applications to use sex offender registry still low - Hannah Yeoh

Bernama
Published:

Only 92 applications to check 1,497 names have been received for the sex offenders registry (e-DKK) which was launched by the Women. Family and Community Development Ministry in March.

Its deputy minister Hannah Yeoh (photo, above) said the number of applicants using the registry from April to July was still low due to the lack of awareness in society, especially nursery operators when hiring caregivers or new workers.

She said the mindset "it’s okay because it is other people’s problems" among parents must be done away with to ensure the operators of nurseries where they sent their children used the registry at the Social Welfare Department (SWD).

“Some states do not use the registry, namely, Perlis, Melaka, Pahang and Federal Territory of Labuan. I urge the SWD in the three states and Labuan to escalate campaigns on the system,’’ she told a media conference after closing a seminar on Awareness of Security and Health of Babies and Children among Caregivers in Kota Kinabalu today.

Fifty caregivers attended the one-day seminar which covered techniques on feeding milk to the baby, emergency aid and fire prevention training.

The deputy minister said the registry had 3,000 names of sexual offenders against children from 2017 until February 2019 under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 (Act 792).

She said the registry was important to operators of nurseries to avoid recruiting minders who were sex offenders and convicted by the court.

She added there were nine applications from Sabah to use the system to check 241 names.

In the meantime, Yeoh said the number of nurseries nationwide currently registered with SWD was 4,671 with 33,576 children.

She said there were only 1,202 caregivers at the nurseries with 591 caregivers who had attended Basic Caregivers Course while the rest (611) had not.

She believed many nurseries were operating illegally due to various factors including difficulties in meeting the conditions.

“The 4,671 registered nurseries make up only 10 percent of the nurseries operating in the country. As such, the ministry is currently identifying nurseries which have not been registered and helping them to do so,” Yeoh added.

- Bernama

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