Malaysian 'finger rape' victim seeks further studies

Malaysian 'finger rape' victim seeks further studies

KUCHING - The girl at the centre of the "finger rape" controversy is applying to further her education in agriculture studies after getting good results in her SPM examinations.

Sarawak Women, Welfare and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said the girl was now 19 years-old.

"After she gave birth, she went back to school - a different school of course - and she did well," Fatimah told reporters here this week.

"One of the first things her mother told us was the girl had expressed interests in several agriculture institutions. So we've made arrangements because of her good results and not because of her special case.

"I hope she will complete her higher education and start a new life. This is how we move on," Fatimah said.

The girl became pregnant following contact with an elderly man, Bunya Jalong, in 2011. She gave birth to a boy the following year. DNA tests done proved he was the father.

Bunya was acquitted of rape by the Appeal Court on May 7 due to the present legal definition of rape, which is penile only.

Bunya claimed he penetrated the girl with his semen-smeared fingers.

The acquittal led to an immediate uproar, with officials, including Fatimah, urging the Attorney-General's Chambers to review the situation.

However, asked about this on Thursday, Fatimah said the Attorney-General had replied to the state government, saying it would not review the case, citing nine reasons.

Among others, Fatimah told reporters that the Attorney-General said that only reasons of fraud or hidden evidence could compel a review.

Basically, she added, the Attorney-General believed the acquittal was according to the correct existing procedures.

Nonetheless, the state minister said the Attorney-General's letter made clear that it too viewed the need to widen the definition of rape.

"The A-G is agreeable to calls to add to the definition of rape. We want it changed to be more 'inclusive', which is to say not just penile but also any body part.

"The definition would also protect boys," Fatimah said. "That part, they agreed with us."

Asked how she felt about the non-review of the acquittal, Fatimah was circumspect, only saying that it was the Attorney-General's explanation "whether we like it or not".

In the written judgement released this month, the Appeals Court made clear it wanted steps to be taken to add to the definition of rape.

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