KUALA LUMPUR - Convicted serial rapist Selva Kumar Subbiah returned to a hostile reception from Malaysians after serving a 24-year sentence for sexually assaulting dozens of women in Toronto, Canada.
He is barred from entering Sabah and described as a high-risk individual by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
The state, said Musa, made the decision because it felt that the Penangite, who reached home yesterday after deportation from Canada, could pose a danger to the public, especially women and children.
"We just can't take the risk of having such a potentially dangerous individual on the loose. We must protect our citizens," said Musa.
He said the directive to bar Selva Kumar will be enforced by the state Immigration Department with immediate effect.
Both Sabah and Sarawak have immigration powers that allow them to prevent any person from entering.
Selva Kumar was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting dozens of women in the late 1980s and early 1990s while posing as a modelling agent, movie producer or professional dancer.
Some Malaysians took to cyberspace to express their fear and disgust of him.
Facebook user Angeline Dominic commented that despite being 57 years old, Selva Kumar could still pose a risk to the public.
"(After) 24 years ... don't know what he (would) imagine and plan.
"You can never know what is in one man's mind until he reacts," she said, adding that taking precautions would be better than regretting later.
Nancy Tang agreed that the public has the right to know his location so that they would be able to take precautions.
Jenifer Ng took the authorities to task: "We can't and won't leave him alone because our safety is at stake.
"You are being reactive not proactive. You are waiting for something bad to happen before reacting."
Uma David also expressed her concerns, saying that "there is no protection given nor preemptive measures taken against paedophiles, rapists and the such.
"There are numerous groups set up via Facebook, Telegram for and by these sickos! It is downright scary".
Uma urged the authorities to set up a sexual offenders registry that was accessible by the public.
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Aldri Fariz wrote on Facebook that it would be better for Selva Kumar to wear an electronic anklet or something similar so that his movements could be monitored.
Although some Facebook users said Selva Kumar deserves to live a normal life after serving 24 years in prison, netizen Alexander Wong felt otherwise.
"What I believe is that he committed his crimes repeatedly, things average you and I would not do.
"Second chance? Justice served? The damage to his victims are for life!" he said.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim had said that police could not make Selva Kumar wear a tracking device and that he was now entitled to live as a free man after serving his sentence.
A close family friend was quoted by local portal FMT as saying that Selva Kumar has repented.
Speaking anonymously, the source said: "According to his family, he has repented and promised not to commit such crimes again."
The friend also described the reports about the 57-year-old having victimised as many as 1,000 women in Canada as "illogical".
The source said Selva, a former student of Penang Free School, came from a rich family and was sent to study in Canada about 30 years ago because his family found him to be "a handful".
Selva Kumar went there as a student in 1980 and his visa was extended after he was sponsored by a spouse. He reportedly married a Canadian woman but it ended in divorce.