Fatimah (standing front, centre) in a photo-call with her ministry staff, including the APC 2019 recipients, at the event.

KUCHING: Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah sees statistics from Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM)’s record on sexual crimes as being ‘particularly worrying’.

It stated that 58 children were among 233 suspects of sexual crimes recorded in Sarawak last year, indicating that there were cases where children were the sexual predators.

Fatimah said based on PDRM statistics for last year, there were 253 victims of sexual crimes, with 199 – or 78.6 per cent – of them children.

From the 199, 51 were found to be pregnant.

“In order to address the issue of sexual crimes against children, the Sarawak Welfare Department (JKM) has developed a ‘Child Sexual Abuse Criminals Review System’ in the Children’s Register,” she said during the ministry’s ‘Excellent Service Award (APC) 2019’ here on Monday night.

According to Fatimah, the system is designed to enhance the protection and safety of children by providing the facility for parents and agencies to review individuals to be hired for jobs involving children.

Fatimah further said the ministry had also launched a set of standard operating procedures (SOP) regarding violence against women and children, to ensure that cases would be resolved quickly, efficiently and accurately, especially in delivering the assistance needed by the victims.

“As a continuation of the SOP on domestic violence against women and children, a social support system in the form of a Social Support Helpline (082-448 866 or 1-800-22-5566) was launched in November 2017.

“The 24-hour Helpline Kebajikan (082-514 141) was also created to enable the public to make various inquiries and complaints, as well as to provide information regarding welfare. It (enquiries) includes (those on) welfare assistance, poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, neglect, abuse, problems with juveniles or children, disabled people, counselling as well as natural disasters,” she said.

On another note, Fatimah informed all that her ministry would continue to focus on both enforcement and non-enforcement interventions to address drug and substance issues in Sarawak.

This would be implemented via collaborations and strategic partnerships with other government agencies such as the National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK), the PDRM, the Narcotics Crime Investigation Department (NCID), Immigration Department, Resident’s Office, and the National Association for the Prevention of Drugs (Pemadam).

In this regard, Fatimah said a framework/action plan for addressing drug issues in Sarawak was established in 2017 as the policy and reference to implement 2,307 series of various integrated intervention operations on drugs and substance issues.

“The enforcement interventions are aimed at suppressing supply and demand for drugs. From 2017 until March 2019, 294 series of integrated enforcement operations to combat drug trafficking, led by NCID of the police contingent headquarters (IPK) Sarawak, had been successfully implemented.

“As a result, 19,113 cases involving 20,438 arrests were recorded. From the statistics, 145 cases involved 309 arrests under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which carries the death penalty upon conviction,” she said.