Press Statement
Minister must explain why Kelantan child bride was packed off to Thailand, while there is no prosecution of paedophile ‘husband’
13 August 2018

We refer to the case of the 11 year old Kelantan child marriage victim who has now been sent back to Thailand.

The child’s sudden dispatch to Thailand comes as a shock to all concerned Malaysians.

Over the past month and a half, the DPM and Women’s Minister Wan Azizah has repeatedly promised parliament and the nation that police investigations are ongoing and that action will be taken against the paedophile ‘husband’.

As late as 4th August the DPM issued a statement claiming that police investigations will be concluded immediately ( segera ) to enable prosecution against the offender.

Yet until today, not only is there no arrest or prosecution of the paedophile, but the child victim herself has been stealthily sent off to Thailand!

Is this the DPM’s idea of ‘immediate’ action against the culprit?

Even the news of the child’s removal was not released by the DPM or her ministry, but by the Thai governor of the province where the child is located now.

Why is the child, being the key prosecution witness, suddenly whisked off to Thailand? Will this not jeopardise the ongoing investigations and any potential prosecution?

Surely, the authorities here have the resources and capability to protect and counsel the child victim; whilst the criminal law takes it course against the suspect.

Is the transfer to Thailand an indication that the DPM and the Women’s ministry is not able to protect the child here in Malaysia?

By his own admission, including of lusting after the child since she was 7, the paedophile ‘husband’ has committed offences of child grooming under the Sexual Offences Act 2017.

It is an open-and-shut case; yet he is still walks unpunished, and even gives media interviews like some pervert celebrity.

He remains a threat not just to this child, but other vulnerable children from poor families as well. The failure to take decisive action is a signal to other potential paedophiles that they can safely operate in Malaysia.

It must be emphasised here that the crime against this child happened on Malaysian soil; and hence investigation and prosecution must take place through our criminal justice system. We have jurisdiction, and cannot just push the problem to Thailand.

In stark contrast to the feet-dragging and confused statements coming from the Women’s Ministry, the Thais have swiftly set up an interdisciplinary team to care for the child and barred the ‘husband’ paedophile any access to the child. The efficient Thai response puts us to shame.

Sending the child off to the Thais is surely a transparent attempt to ‘close the case’ and get rid of the problem; this course of action by the Ministry is neither in the public interest nor in the interest of the child.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that there is no political will on the part of the Minister to protect this child and bring the wrongdoer to justice.

Released by:
Latheefa Koya
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty