Wan Junaidi’s shocking child rape remark


Azrul Mohd Khalib, The Malay Mail

I think most of us were shocked to hear the reply in Parliament by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar to the question of why the incidence of child rape is more common among Malays.

His outrageous unsubstantiated statement that Malays were more sensitive than non-Malays to the issue of statutory rape borders on the ridiculous. However, the sad fact is that it seems that even a serious crime such as sexual violence and child abuse is viewed or even judged through the lens of race. Even at the highest levels of government, mind-sets continue to be imprisoned by the straitjacket of racism.

No person at the Cabinet level, whose responsibility it is to look at issues which affect all Malaysians, should be making racist and sweeping statements which inevitably reflect the level of seriousness of which such issues are considered as well as the policies linked to it.

Rightly or wrongly, based on the Deputy Home Minister’s statement in Parliament, people would be justified in thinking that the government has a misplaced sense of understanding regarding sexual violence and child abuse.

What the Deputy Home Minister stated in his answer to the question in Parliament is a serious issue because this is not about his personal opinion, which would be sufficiently appalling and despicable enough. This is about the position of the government on a serious issue which affects women and girls in this country. His answers in the House, therefore becomes the position.

Therefore, I must ask, is the position of our government therefore that the incidence of child rape is more common among Malays, because Malays were more sensitive than non-Malays to the issue of statutory rape?

Another sad fact is that the Deputy Home Minister’s statement seems to focus on the issue of reporting. He appears to reject a fundamental problem: the reality that there is a high incidence of rape and sexual violence occurring to children in Malaysia, irrespective of their ethnicity.

Royal Malaysian Police statistics indicate that 10 women and girls are sexually assaulted each day. Fifty per cent of all such cases, which includes rape, involve children below the age of 16. Bear in mind that these numbers do not include cases where the rape survivor was married off to the rapist, changing the status of the crime from haram to halal.

Like a true politician born and bred in divisive racial politics, the Deputy Home Minister decided instead to take the defensive approach as if the question was a criticism of the Malay community, and respond to the effect that the children of other races are raped too but that they are more accepting or tolerant about it and therefore don’t report. What rubbish.

For the benefit of Yang Berhomat Timbalan Mentri, allow me to repeat this sobering statistic: 50 per cent of sexual violence in Malaysia occurs to girls below the age of 16. Don’t believe me? Go and visit PDRM’s Sexual Crimes Unit.

Perhaps he needs to spend some time with some of the urban poor families living in Malaysia’s cities. Many of them live in low cost and high density apartments and in conditions which would be terrifying and vulnerable for any child.