PETALING JAYA: Former minister Shahidan Kassim was charged at the Kangar Sessions Court today with outraging the modesty of an underaged girl, which could see him face a maximum 10 years’ jail.
The Arau MP, who was released on RM25,000 bail, was charged under Section 14 of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017.
If found guilty, he risks losing his parliamentary seat.
The charge was handed down by Sessions Court judge Johari Hassan after hearing arguments from the public prosecutor Muhamad Nordin Ismail and defence counsel Dhalia Rohana Abdul Latiff.
Dhalia had said Shahidan was unlikely to pose a flight risk or deliberately refrain from appearing in court unless it was related to his health problems.
Nordin however asked the court to impose a high bail amount given that the case was high profile and of public interest.
He also asked that Shahidan be ordered to surrender his passport to the court.
The court set Jan 8 for case mention.
A warrant of arrest was issued for Shahidan last week after he failed to turn up in court to face charges. According to his Facebook page, he was in Mecca performing the umrah at the time.
He has denied molesting the girl, said to be just short of 16 years old.
The girl initially lodged a police report on the matter but it was later withdrawn, with her father saying the issue had been amicably resolved and the family saw no need to blow it out of proportion.
The girl is reportedly part of a busker group sponsored by Shahidan.
He said he only invited her into his car to give her a donation as he was unable to walk.