Convicted scholar not listed in child sex offender registry

Modified 23 Aug 2019, 12:32 pm

PhD student Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin, who was convicted for possession of child pornography in the UK, is not listed in the child sex offenders’ registry maintained by Malaysia’s Social Welfare Department.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said the list records convictions for child sexual offences from 2017 onwards, when the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 (SOAC) came into force.

In Nur Fitri’s case however, the student was convicted in 2015 - which is two years before SOAC came into force - before serving his jail sentence in the UK and returning to Malaysia.

“The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is currently reviewing the existing laws relating to this and we are committed to strengthen projection for our children,” she said in a series of posts on Twitter today.

She also said members of the public could apply to conduct a free screening using the registry at any Social Welfare Department office.

“This service is free and serves as an available tool (not mandatory yet) for parents and business operators related to children to do screening on potential employees,” she said.

The registry was launched in March and at the time included 3,000 SOAC convicts up to Feb 28, 2019.

Earlier this month, however, Yeoh revealed the registry was little-used and that the department had received only 92 applications to check a total of 1,497 names between April and July this year.

Yesterday, it was reported that Nur Fitri had enrolled as a PhD student at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s School of Mathematical Science.

Nur Fitri had been sentenced to five years' jail in the UK after pleading guilty to various counts of possessing and making indecent images of children, as well as intent to distribute the materials.

The then 23-year-old had been studying in Imperial College London on a Mara scholarship at the time of his arrest.

Described as a "maths genius", he was deported after serving nine months in jail.

British newspapers had then reported that Nur Fitri’s collection of 30,000 photos and videos included 600 in “Category A”, which is defined as “extreme form of child sexual abuse”.

UKM today confirmed that Nur Fitri is studying in a PhD course at the university, but said he had not displayed any suspicious behaviour nor were there any complaints against him.

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