A Malaysian man who pestered a woman with questions before following her into the train and exposing his genitals to her twice was today (11 April) sentenced to four weeks’ jail and a fine of $500. Earlier this year, the Malaysian man, Makesvaran Visuranatham, pleaded guilty to three charges of criminal force, intentionally exposing himself to obtain sexual gratification and insulting the modesty of the victim.
The Court earlier heard that Makesvaran, 37, sat down on the left of the victim, a 30-year-old woman, after she boarded a train at Raffles Place before 7.40am on May 2 last year. The victim later felt Makesvaran nudge her waist with his elbow, but ignored it as she thought it was an accident. But he persisted in touching her inappropriately while engaging in small talk with her telling her that he was late for work and asking her how many more stations there were before Jurong East MRT Station.
When the victim stood up and walked to another cabin, Makesvaran followed her and sat beside her again. While facing the victim, Makesvaran exposed his private parts to her without her consent and made a sexual gesture. The victim walked away and stood in front of the train doors.
When the train arrived at Jurong East, Makesvaran alighted before the victim. Even after he had alighted from the train, he turned on the escalator to face the victim and made a gesture that insulted her modesty. This was when the victim shouted at him and held onto his shirt to prevent him from running away. The station master at the train station called the police, and Makesvaran was later arrested.
Cases of molestation have been on the rise in recent years, and penalties for these offences are set to be raised to allow the authorities to better deal with such crimes, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam in Parliament in March last year.
Between 2016 and 2020, an average of 1,190 outrage of modesty cases were reported each year; about 24 per cent higher than between 2011 and 2015, he said. “We want egregious cases to be dealt with more severely,” added Mr Shanmugam.
Following a review of the sentencing framework for hurt and sexual offences, the maximum penalties for molestation and two other sexual offences involving minors are set to be raised, he announced. Those convicted of outrage of modesty could, in future, face a jail term of up to three years, compared with two years now. They could also be fined and/or caned.
This will send a stronger signal of deterrence, given the rise in molestation cases in the past four years compared with the preceding four years, Mr Shanmugam told Parliament in a ministerial statement on the review of the sentencing framework.