Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang at the Ceramah on ‘The Truth: Rahim and The School Girl’ organised by DAPSY and Wanita DAP at MTUC Hall in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 5th December 1994 at 8 pm
DAP calls for amendments to the women and Girls Protection Act and other laws to remove injustices as highlighted by the case of the 16-year-old schoolgirl and Rahim Tamby Cik
The case of the 16-year-old schoolgirl and former Malacca Chief Minister and UMNO Youth Leader Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik has highlighted the gross injustices in the treatment of girls and women by government authority and laws in the country.
Both the laws as well as their administration are clearly one-sided and unfair, as illustrated by the following instances
(1) Although it was Rahim Tamby Cik who was the ‘accused’ as he was alleged to have committed the crime of statutory rape in having sex relation with the underaged schoolgirl, it was the schoolgirl who was detained by the police in custody while Rahim Tamby Cik enjoyed full freedom who could go overseas on holiday without any let or hindrance.
(2) Although the Attorney General Datuk Mohtar Abdullah said there was no prima-facie case against Rahim Tamby Cik for having sexual relation with the underaged girl, he had no hesitation in publicly revealing the girl’s background about 14 other men alleged to have sex relation with her.
However, Mohtar refused to answer when asked whether Rahim Tamby Cik bad denied having sex relation with the girl.
Furthermore, while revealing the sex background of the girl, which would have been completely inadmissible in a court of law, the Attorney General did not reveal or even investigate into the sex background of Rahim Tamby Cik.
(3) From being the victim in the case, the girl had suddenly become the accused, as she now faced possible Syariah prosecution arising from the criminal investigation into the allegation that Rahim Tamby Cik had sex relation with an underaged girl.
(4) The scandal of the girl being sent to a Pusat Akhlak pending investigation for a committal, after Rahim had been cleared by the Attorney General, when she should have been returned to her family and in particular her grandmother Pendek Ahmad.
The injustice becomes even more blatant when she is still being held in the Pusat Akhlak after her father had withdrawn his application in the Magistrate’s court in Kuala Lumpur last Wednesday to commit her to the Pusat Akhlak.
It is clear that these injustices are only possible because of weaknesses in the laws including the Women and Girls Protection Act as well as in the administration and enforcement of the jaws.
I am very disappointed that the Minister for National Unity and Social Development Datuk Napsiah Omar has not come foreward to defend the schoolgirl from the string of injustices that she had suffered, while Rahim Tamby Cik was allowed to go scotfree on the issue.
The injustices suffered by the girl should be a classic case study for all women organisations in the country for a need to change laws and government policies and attitudes so that young girls and women are not treated as accused when they are the victims.
DAP therefore calls for amendments to the Women and Girls Protection Act and other laws to remove injustices as highlighted by the case of the 16-year-old schoolgirl and Rahim Tamby Cik.
The women organisations should present a memorandum to Datuk Napsiah Omar of the laws that should be amended arising from the case of the 16-year-old girl so that girls and women in the country will be treated more fairly in the future.