KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — The Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Amendment) Act 2022 (Act A1644) comes into effect today after receiving the Agong’s assent on January 19.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said Act A1644, which was included in the Official Gazette on January 25, is hoped to provide the best solution in Malaysia’s efforts to curb anti-human trafficking and smuggling of migrants more effectively.
He said the amendment was the country’s main legal instrument in facing the modern slavery issue and to curb human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in Malaysia.
“In an effort to increase the effectiveness of preventing the two stated crimes, an amendment to the act has been implemented to strengthen the related provisions.
“Overall, there are 19 provisions amended with improvements involving amendments to the following matters (including) amendments to the definition of human trafficking and repealing the definition of coercion as well as increasing jail sentence and the introduction of whipping,” he said in a statement last night.
He said other amendments related to the provision of more serious offences, including those involving civil servants and the creation of ministerial powers in the appointment of any civil servant as enforcement under Act 670.
Hamzah also said that amendments included the inclusion of members from other organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGO) in the Council for Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants.
The expansion of the role of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry in the management and control of protective officers and shelters for human trafficking victims were included in the amendments, he added.
He said a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach was used and were confident that it would improve Malaysia’s standings in any international evaluation and boost the country’s image globally.
“All Malaysians are urged to come together and help the government curb such crimes by reporting any information through Chatbot at the council’s Facebook account, or email [email protected] or call 03-8000 8000,” he said.
Bernama reported last December that Dewan Negara passed the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Amendment) Bill 2021.
The bill aimed to ensure that the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 (Act 670) was in line with the requirements of the Palermo Protocol and the Asean Convention Against Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP).