SEREMBAN, July 31 — The bill on the setting up of the Children’s Commission is expected to be tabled in Parliament in October, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
She said it is important to establish an independent commission to protect the welfare and interests of the approximately 9.5 million children in the country.
Azalina said it aims to not only provide a comprehensive understanding to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and non-governmental organisations, but assist the Sexual Crimes Against Children Court.
“We have prepared the paper on the matter to be presented to the Cabinet, and hopefully it will get approval in terms of policy and legal frameworks, and the bill can be tabled in the upcoming Parliament sitting.
“At present, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) is under the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), but we have to take it out and make it really independent because Suhakam is handling mostly matters related to human rights.
“The OCC has to look beyond human rights. The OCC must be independent so that it can monitor and provide assistance to government agencies to come up with the best practices for children.
“We cannot be so defensive when it comes to children’s rights. Our children are the future of the nation. We must provide them with full protection,” she told reporters after visiting the Seremban Court Complex here today.
Meanwhile, Azalina said a total of 6,791 child sexual abuse cases have been reported throughout the country as of today, with Kelantan recording the highest number of cases at 1,097.
She added that the overall rate of disposal of child sexual abuse cases is currently at 72.6 per cent.
“If it is possible, I want to give a message that early or fast disposal of the cases is to show the non-tolerance of the government for such cases. However, to achieve this, the country needs more sessions court judges who are currently handling beyond just one case,” she said.
Azalina also said that the Immunity Act, which serves to protect the country from any possible foreign claims in the future, is also expected to be tabled in Parliament in October.