WHEN she was 13, TV host Daphne Iking was harassed by a relative in Kota Kinabalu.
Iking, the latest in a long line of stars pledging their support to R.AGE’s #MPsAgainstPredators campaign, shared the harrowing experience for the first time during a meeting with Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, the former Chief Minister of Sabah.
“I was afraid to speak up because I was ashamed, even though I knew my parents would’ve been supportive,” said Iking, who was born in Keningau, Sabah.
“This topic is still very much taboo in our culture, especially in our kampung. So I chose to just shrug it off as an uncomfortable childhood memory.”
Taboo or not, this is still an issue that needs to be tackled – and the only way to do so is by educating all sectors of the community, including those in far-flung parts of Sabah and Sarawak, said Salleh.
“We want to make sure our children are all protected because they are our future. If this issue is not addressed now, it will create more social problems in the future,” he said.
“Ministries and agencies need to implement their awareness and outreach programmes to reach the population in Sabah and Sarawak and its interior kampung areas.”
Getting all sectors of the population on the same page would help reduce the victimisation of children, he added.
“There must be no segregation. The campaign and the outreach programmes need to be organised at a district, state and national level.”
A task force, led by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, is currently working on new laws against child sexual crimes.
The push for new laws comes after R.AGE’s Predator In My Phone undercover investigations revealed the dark reality of child sexual crimes in Malaysia.
A draft of the new laws is expected to be presented in Parliament by the end of the month.
But Salleh stressed that there is no use having the laws if the people don’t understand them.
“Problems arise when communities are poorly-informed regarding the deterring laws. If the people support the law and it is passed in Parliament, then implementation will be more effective.”