(File pix) The Sexual Offences against Children Bill 2017, formulated to protect anyone under 18 years of age from sexual abuse, was passed by Parliament today.Pix by Asyraf Hamzah

Parliament passes landmark Sexual Offences against Children Bill

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sexual Offences against Children Bill 2017, formulated to protect anyone under 18 years of age from sexual abuse, was passed by Parliament today.

In winding up the debate, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, said the government cannot entirely assure that sexual crimes against minors will be curbed by the bill.

"(But the bill) is a start. Do not worry, there will be a follow-up to (enhance) the bill," she said.

One the bill becomes law, it criminalises adults who, for sexual purposes, touch any part of a child’s body; or makes a child touch any part of their body, or that of any other person’s body.

Such acts will constitute physical sexual assaults on a child.

It will also become an offence for any adult, for sexual purposes, to utter words or sounds; or make gestures; or exhibit any part or their body, with the intention of the word or sound being heard by a child, or the gesture or body part being seen by a child.

Other key provisions in the new law include a section on extra-territorial application, in which all Malaysian children will be protected against offenders, either Malaysian or foreigner.

The law can also be applied against any Malaysian who commits an offence "against a child in any place" outside the country.

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