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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18, 2016:

The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry has proposed a public registry be set up to include the information of those convicted in child-related offences.

Being part of amendments to the Child Act 2001, this registry would be made available in addition to an existing registry that lists information of children who have been victims.

The ministry’s policy division secretary Dr Waitchalla Suppiah told a media briefing today that the registry, supervised by the welfare department, will list details of paedophiles, rapists, abusers and others.

The list would also help employers hoping to open nurseries, for example, to check the details of those they wish to employ.

“Employers may refer to the list when hiring prospective staff. They can then know if the person has a clean record and is legible for hiring,” she said.

Waitchalla explained that all employers needed to do was contact the welfare department to check the backgrounds of prospective employees.

“We want to ensure that those involved in handling children have no criminal records involving children,” she said.

Zahidah Zakaria, legal adviser to the ministry, added that the ministry would obtain information from courts and police, and would include those who were already convicted for crimes involving children.

When asked how it would be consolidated in terms of how far back the list of those convicted would go, Zahidah said a cut off date had yet to be decided.

“But once this is approved by Parliament, then the decision will be made by the minister,” she said.

At the briefing today, ministry representatives pointed out some of the major amendments proposed to the Child Act 2001, among which was harsher punishment for negligence, exploitation of children and child trafficking.

It was also proposed that a mandatory community service order be imposed on those who were sentenced.

Following today’s briefing, the ministry will be holding a similar briefing with non-governmental organisations next month.

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