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Tahfiz sexual abuse: Victim's mum entitled to pursue legal action, says Suhakam

Published
Modified 19 Oct 2019, 9:34 am

The mother of a boy who was allegedly sexually abused in a tahfiz school is fully within her rights to commence legal action against the school’s administrator, said the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam).

In a statement, Suhakam's Children Commissioner Noor Aziah Mohd Awal alluded to media reports on the alleged incident, after the case was dismissed on Oct 14 by the Magistrate's Court in Ipoh despite previously recognising that an offence had been committed.

"Given the grievous nature of the alleged offences, the Children’s Commissioner believes that the mother of the victim is fully within her rights to commence legal action against the tahfiz school," said Noor Aziah.

Stressing that each child must be recognised and protected as a rights holder, Noor Aziah said those who are the victim of “crimes of such magnitude” must receive justice in full.

"In Malaysia’s fight against the sexual exploitation of children, the Children’s Commissioner emphasises that the rule of law should apply fully to children as it does to adults, and that children have a right to equal protection under the law," she stressed.

On Monday, it was reported that the Magistrate’s Court in Ipoh had dismissed an alleged sexual abuse case involving a minor at a tahfiz school in Manjoi, Ipoh, merely two months after recognising that an offence had taken place.

According to reports, magistrate Mohammad Afifi Mohammad Deen made the decision after the court was provided with a letter from the Perak State Legal Adviser’s Office that highlighted a supposed directive from Attorney-General Tommy Thomas under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution.

The family’s lawyer, Asiah Abd Jalil, was quoted as saying that the provision empowers the attorney-general to exercise his discretion to discontinue any proceeding for an offence.

In her statement, Noor Aziah urged Thomas to issue an explanation regarding the decision to drop criminal charges against the alleged perpetrator.

Noor Aziah, who underscored the principle of the best interest of the child, also urged Thomas to clarify why he exercised his discretion to stop the prosecution of the alleged child sexual offender.

In August 2016, the victim’s mother had lodged two police reports alleging that her son, then nine years old, was consistently sexually abused together with other students by their seniors in the tahfiz school.

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