KANGAR, Nov 13 – Arau MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim is facing a jail term of up to 20 years and may lose his MP seat following a molestation charge against him.
The former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department is alleged to have molested an underage girl, an offence under Section 14(a) of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017.
Shahidan, who was slapped with a warrant of arrest for failing to show up in court last week, denied touching the 15-year-old girl’s hand up to her shoulder in a Toyota Harrier parked in an open space of the Tuanku Syed Putra Stadium here at about 11.30pm on Oct 20.
The charge, under the Act for touching any part of a child’s body for sexual purposes, carries a jail term of up to 20 years and whipping.
After all the contents of the charge were read, the court interpreter asked if he understood the charge, to which Shahidan said, “I don’t understand. I don’t even know her.”
The court interpreter then repeated the charge and Shahidan later nodded to show that he understood it.
Earlier, Shahidan, 67, arrived at the court complex here at about 8.20am in a black Toyota Hilux.
He was accompanied by his wife Datuk Shamsiah Mohd Yasin, one of his daughters and his three lawyers, Thalia Rohaina Abdul Latiff, Syed Muhammad Anwar Syed Lokman Hakim and Zuhair Ahmad Zakuan.
The court proceedings started at 9am with Sessions Court judge Johari Abu Hassan hearing an application by Thalia Rohaina to strike off the warrant of arrest that was issued against Shahidan.
The lawyer tendered proof in the form of Shahidan’s flight ticket to Saudi Arabia, containing flight details of Shahidan’s umrah trip to Mecca.
She said her client had only returned to Malaysia on Nov 9 at about 2.30pm, which made it impossible for him to be present in court to face charges.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Nordin Ismail then confirmed the date and requested for the warrant of arrest to be struck off, which the judge allowed.
On the molestation charge, Mohd Nordin proposed a RM25,000 bail and urged the court to impound his travel document, citing the seriousness of the case and that it was of public interest. He also urged the court to order the accused to not harass the victim and her family members.
Thalia Rohaina pleaded for a lower bail, asking the court to set bail at RM1,000.
Johari allowed bail at RM25,000 in two sureties and fixed Jan 8 for mention.
He also allowed the accused to keep his travel document and ordered him to not harass the victim or her family members.
Shahidan left the court at about 10.50am after his son Ameer Shafiq Shahidan and son-in-law Muhamed Laqman Abdul Rashid posted bail.