Time to invest in tech required to nab child sex offenders: MP Kasthuri

Media statement by Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan and International Secretary for Wanita DAP Kasthuri Patto on Wednesday 8th September 2021 in Batu Kawan, Penang:

After Richard Huckle and Alladin Lanim, there is no time to lose to invest in the technology, equipment, training and expertise as used by our Australian counterparts in tracing and nabbing child sex offenders who use Malaysia as their base.

I read with a gasp and a sigh of relief on the nabbing of a Sarawakian man, also known as one of the “world’s most wanted child sex offender” and worse that he was indulging in this diabolical filth, sexually violating and abusing children from the ages of a toddler to a teenager.

Alladin Lanim has been satisfying his maniacal hunger for the flesh of children for 14 years in Lundu, Sarawak, and sharing his filth for the satisfaction of other users on the dark web.

His days were numbered as he was finally arrested by the Australian Transactions Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and investigators who specialise in this field from the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police, the same team behind the exposé that led them to the arrest of Richard Huckle who also preyed on vulnerable children who came from families that were in lower economic stature compared to the rest.

Last year on August 3rd in an answer to my Parliamentary question to the Deputy Minister of Multimedia and Communication, Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin stated that “Malaysian airports do not have the technology that can scan for child pornography because there is a lack of funding for it” and passed the buck to the Ministry of Finance.

The 2021 budget for the Ministry of Communication and Multimedia did not have any additional budget specifically for an investment of this scale that will bring great benefit for all children in Malaysia. And when a country like Malaysia prioritises and invests in the technology, equipment, training and expertise to be another frontliner in the region to combat all forms of violence against children, including sexual violence, it sends a strong message to our ASEAN counterparts and the world that the country is serious in this warfare against sexual predators.

The monster Richard Huckle plagued Malaysia for about 8 years from 2006 to 2014 and should have been an eye opener for the enforcement agencies here to not to rest on their laurels and should have gotten to work on the get go on establishing and enforcing a partnership with the Australian enforcement team, particularly the AUSTRAC and the Australian Federal Police for training, to learn best practices and to invest in the equipment, technology and expertise in nabbing these beasts amongst us.

But it has been 7 years since Richard Huckle was caught – not in Malaysia, in spite of tip offs by the Australian police, but in Gatwick Airport, United Kingdom when he landed there for the Christmas holidays. Many questions arose on why he wasn’t caught here and the answers were many and repetitive. However, the silver lining in this is the introduction of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act (SOACA) that was passed in the Malaysian Parliament in 2017.

Dismally, the arrest of Alladin Lanim through the relentless monitoring and observation of his movements on the dark web by the Australian enforcement team is applauded but how did he manage to continually do this, unbeknownst to the Malaysian police and for over a decade? Did Alladin know that there is a lacuna in the law in Malaysia on combatting child sex predators or there seemed to be a lack of political will by the Government in the air or there was, evidently a lack of funds, resources, technology, equipment, training and expertise that to cop them from the onset of their movement on the dark web.

How many more Alladin Lanims or Richard Huckles are going to fuel their drive and feed their hunger at the expense of violating our children before we prioritise, and with great urgency, bring to the table to invest and devote our blood, sweat and tears to ensure we play an affirmative role to keep our children safe.

I call on the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, the Home Minister, the Minister of Communication and Multimedia and the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development to allocate adequate funds in the 2022 National Budget for the technology, equipment, training and expertise in putting an end to sexual violence against children in our own backyard and in the region.

A ‘Malaysian Family’ can only be attained when we can ensure a safe, secure and protected environment for our future generation before we come face to face with a generation of neglected, broken children who were victims of our failure to strike when the iron is hot.

Kasthuri Patto
Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan
International Secretary for Wanita DAP

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