By : DATIN ROHATY MOHD MAJZUB, Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
I REFER to the Nurin Jazlin Jazimin tragedy. It shocked all Malaysians and we should not forget what happened. At the same time, we should take more proactive steps to combat the problem.
Allow me to recommend two mechanisms which should be instituted by law. These mechanisms have been implemented in the United States with some success and can also be instituted in Malaysia.
First, please implement the equivalent of Megan's Law in Malaysia. In the US, Megan's Law refers to the state law that requires enforcement authorities to notify the public through various forms of media of sex offenders who move in the community.
Such law requires persons convicted of any sexual assault to notify authorities of their whereabouts. Megan's Law was passed in New Jersey in 1994 after the rape and murder of Megan Kanka.
The law suggests that every parent has the right to know of a dangerous sexual offender who is in the neighbourhood.
Although there are criticisms against such law, one should not deny its strengths and positive outcomes. The database on sex offenders should be up to date and available and caution be taken with regard to the implementation procedures so as not to wrongly go against human rights.
Second, I agree with the move by Nurin's uncle Jasni Jalil and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry's suggestion to introduce the Amber Alert.
The Amber Alert Plan was named after Amber Hagerman who was kidnapped and murdered in the US. It refers to a statewide and nationwide notification programme to help locate abducted and endangered children within the first 24 hours, which are the most critical hours after abduction.
The power of free over-the-air electronic media is the best way to quickly reach citizens who can be the ears and eyes of the government.
The Amber Alert Plan should take into account that (a) the child must be below 18; (b) the child is believed to be abducted; (c) enough description is disclosed about the child; and (d) it is recommended by the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction.
I believe these two mechanisms can be implemented with success.
Of course, the police and authorities have worked hard to solve Nurin's case but we need speedier action and more concrete efforts to combat abduction, child molest, rape and murders.