Protecting Malaysian kids online from sexual exploitation: Govt explores measures to safeguard against overseas predators

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 8 — The government is studying suitable means to expand the scope of protection under Section 3 of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act (SOAC) 2017 (Act 792) to tackle the issue of online sexual exploitation of Malaysian children by individuals residing abroad.

Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the expansion of the scope is aimed at providing better protection for Malaysian minors regardless of the geographical location of the perpetrators.

“Online sexual exploitation offences against children is a cross-border issue,” she said in a statement today.

Azalina said Section 3 of the SOAC 2017 provides for extra-territorial application, whereby if an offence is committed by a Malaysian citizen against a child abroad, the perpetrator may be dealt with as if the offence was committed in Malaysia.

She said there are six categories of online offences related to Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) in the Act with sentences ranging from five to 30 years of imprisonment and whipping.

She added that the Act also covers other online sexual offences against children including grooming, communicating sexually, and making them watch or listen to child sexual abuse material.

In 2023, two new amendments were passed to combat online sexual crimes against children, namely Section 15A of Act 792 which provides for offences related to sexual performance by children, and Section 15B related to sexual extortion of children, she said. — Bernama



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