Cover Story, Current Affairs, National

Our legal system should protect rape victims, NOT punish them

Press Statement
27th January 2021

We refer to the case where two Mongolian women were allegedly taken to a hotel and raped by a police officer with the rank of Inspector on 10 April 2020 in Petaling Jaya, during the first phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO). 

As of 22 January 2021, several media outlets have reported that one of the women who brought a suit of false imprisonment and sexual assault against the policeman will now have to pay him RM6,500 as costs instead[1].

The High Court struck out her suit as she could not deposit a RM70,000 payment for security for costs. The Judge also ordered the woman, Nandine, to pay RM6,500 as costs to the policeman. The firm representing Nandine is now crowdfunding online to raise RM46,500 to have the matter refiled and heard in the Sessions Court.

This is a disturbing turn in events. It signals to other rape victims that one must have at least RM70,000 in their bank accounts to successfully file a suit against their rapists. Almost a year has passed for Nandine – a year in which she would have worried about the financial costs as well as relive the trauma of rape. 

It is unfortunate that Nadine’s bravery to bring her case to court has now been diminished to one where the victim has to endure a loss of anonymity, shame, possible recrimination, and stigmatisation. The court decision has contributed towards making reporting processes even more overwhelming for victims.

We sincerely feel that the court could be more compassionate and not impose such a high barrier for alleged victims seeking justice, especially those with little means. 

Ironically, the perpetrator has ongoing criminal proceedings against him involving multiple charges of rape, outrage of modesty, and abuse of power in exploiting the women for sexual purposes under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (ATIPSOM). This means that this is not a frivolous case. 

We call on the court to be compassionate, waive the RM70,000 security payment, and reopen the civil case so that Nandine can gain access to the justice she deserves and send a message that abuse of power by authorities shall be taken seriously by the courts.

Maria Chin Abdullah                                           
MP for Petaling Jaya         

Lim Yi Wei
ADUN for Kampung Tunku 

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