Child sex abuse cases on the rise in Malaysia's Sabah

KOTA KINABALU (BERNAMA) - The number of sexual abuse cases against children in Sabah increased from 14 in 2014 to 186 last year.

Sabah Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Jainab Ahmad Ayid said half of the cases involved physical sexual abuse, while another 30 per cent were incest.

She urged people to cooperate by reporting to the authorities if they knew of any child being sexually abused, even if it involved their own family members.

"There is better awareness in Sabah on the importance of reporting the matter to the autho­rities.

"Cooperation from voluntary organisations is necessary to help and protect victims of child sexual abuse," she said after the launch of Welfare Month and a forum on Stop Sexual Crime Against Children in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday (Sept 30).

She also expressed hope that the setting up of a special court to handle such cases against children in Sabah could be sped up.

This followed a statement by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said that the special court would be set up in all states in stages, with the first phase in Sarawak, Selangor and Johor.

The second phase will cover Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Pahang. Penang, Negri Sembilan and Melaka will be in the third phase, and Sabah, Perak and Terengganu in the fourth.