Outcry over Light Sentences

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Crying foul over soft sentence for offences against kids.

There is outrage over what is perceived to be lenient sentences meted out to two cases.

In one case, a babysitter who stuffed a green chilli into the mouth of a toddler till he choked to death was sentenced to 18 months’ jail.

In another case, a welfare home operator who pleaded guilty to watching and taking a video of a girl while she was using the bathroom was imprisoned for 15 months.

Protect and Save the Children executive director Mariza Abdul­kadir said the period of imprisonment for both was too short and disproportionate with the crimes committed.

The child protection activist said “crimes against children should not be tolerated and tighter legislation against those who commit those crimes should be enforced, and that includes child sexual abuse”.

She said there should be no comparison of the period of imprisonment between the two cases, but that both perpetrators definitely must serve a longer time (more than 15 months) in prison.

In a statement, Selangor Wanita DAP deputy chief Sangeet Kaur Deo said the sentence handed down by the court on Zahari Alwi was grossly inadequate and did not reflect the seriousness of the offences, particularly against children who were helpless and vulnerable who were placed in his care.

She said such lenient sentences would not be an effective deterrent against would-be sexual predators and paedophiles, and that the interest of the children demands heavier sentences to be meted out against such offences.

She urged the Attorney-General’s Chambers to appeal against the sentence, which she said did not do justice to the victims and their families.

“Severe punishment is needed to deter other members of the public from committing the same offence. 

“We urge the Attorney General’s Chambers to file an appeal against these sentences in relation to the said cases as it is clearly disproportionate and does not do justice to the victims and their family.”

Meanwhile the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry said it will appeal to the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) for a heavier sentence on the welfare home operator who was only sentenced 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to watching and taking a video of a girl while she was using the bathroom.

“As there was a public outcry on the sentence meted out to the welfare home operator, the ministry will be appealing to the DPP for a higher sentence,” its deputy minister Hannah Yeoh said.