Published: Tuesday October 16, 2012 MYT 7:20:00 PM
Penalty for rape of underage girls should be determined by court, says ex-chief justice
KUALA LUMPUR: The sentence to be meted out for rape of underage girls (below 16 years) should remain at the discretion of the court, former chief justice Tun Zaki Tun Azmi said on Tuesday.
He said it was inappropriate to set the penalty for the offence as there were several factors, such as the facts of the case, before a sentence could be imposed on an offender.
"In a case of an older man raping an underage girl, he deserves to be given a heavy sentence, which is imprisonment and whipping. There is no question about that.
"But, in a case involving young couples, is the girl not at fault at all?
"I say that both of them are guilty, and is it fair if only the man is penalised?" he asked reporters after a dialogue by the Special Commission To Study Transformation of the Public Service at the Craft Complex here.
In such cases, he said, normally police reports were lodged after the girls' parents found out.
On the proposal to amend Section 376 of the Penal Code pertaining to penalty for rape of an underage girl, he said a comprehensive study should be conducted to avoid injustice.
He said injustice could also happen in cases involving incest, if only the man was to be punished as there had been cases involving women.
"This matter has to be looked into from a wider aspect. To me, the best solution is to ensure youngsters don't have sexual relationships until they are married," he added.
He said this when asked to comment on a statement by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday, that the government had given permission for the Attorney-General's Chambers to amend Section 376 of the Penal Code to provide for a mandatory jail sentence on those convicted of raping an underage girl. - Bernama