A new child sex offenders registry will come into effect on 1 April following several cases of child abuse in Malaysia
The new system, which was launched yesterday, 26 March, is aimed to help parents and schools filter out repeat child sex offenders who potentially come into contact with children in different industries.
The registry is the first phase of the system and will contain the names of about 3,000 convicted pedophiles from 2017 to February this year
"The next phase will see a tightening of related laws including the [Child] Act 2001, to further help children," revealed Women, Community, and Family Development deputy minister Hannah Yeoh, according to Malay Mail.
Yeoh previously said in September 2018 that the registry contained only 326 offenders dating back to three years ago.
Parents, schools, daycare centres, and even religious institutions are strongly urged to use the new registry to screen people before employing them to care for children
"Those who want to send their children to daycares, or schools looking to hire new teachers, simply have to provide the individual's IC number to the Social Welfare Department," Yeoh explained, according to Malay Mail.
To check on an individual, all they need to do is to fill in a form and state their relationship to the person.
"If the check is done at the department's state office, it will produce results instantly. However to make things easier you can also check it at the department's district office, but it will take five working days to produce the results," the minister added.
The ministry is also considering making these background checks compulsory for those who want to work in childcare. However, that may take awhile to come into effect.
Last year, 639 cases were reported and a majority of them were committed by first-time offenders. Meanwhile, 34 of them were repeat offenders.
Yeoh revealed that based on records, the offences were mostly caused by first-timers or by people of whom the child knew, The Star reported.
In addition, Yeoh urged parents to remain vigilant as a potential babysitter would not need a prior record of sexual offences to commit a crime.