Former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim was charged in the sessions court in Kangar today with sexually assaulting an underage girl.
However, he pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Shahidan, who is Arau Member of Parliament, was charged with sexually assaulting the 15-year-old girl by touching her arm and shoulder in a Toyota Harrier at the compound of Tuanku Syed Putra Stadium at about 11.30 pm last Oct 20.
He was charged under Section 14(a) of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 with physical sexual assault on a child by touching any part of the child’s body.
The charge provides for imprisonment of up to 20 years and whipping, if found guilty.
He also risks losing his parliamentary seat if convicted.
Perlis chief prosecutor Muhamad Nordin Ismail requested for a high bail on grounds that this was a high profile case and of public interests, and also an order for Shahidan to surrender his passport to the court.
Lawyer Dhalia Rohana Abdul Latiff, representing Shahidan, said her client was unlikely to pose a flight risk or deliberately refrain from appearing in court unless it was related to his health problems.
The other lawyers representing Shahidan are Syed Muhammad Anwar Syed Lokman Hakim and Zuhair Ahmad Zakuan.
Sessions Court judge Johari Hassan granted Shahidan bail of RM25,000 with two sureties and allowed him to keep his passport.
The bail was posted by Shahidan’s son Ameer Shafi and son-in-law Muhamad Lokman Abdul Rashid.
The court set Jan 8 for mention.
Earlier, Shahidan arrived at the court at 8.20am, using a walking stick. Clad in a dark blazer and sunglasses, the former Perlis Umno chief was accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Shamsiah Mohd Yassin and two unidentified women, as well as about 50 supporters.
Appearing composed, Shahidan was escorted to the complex’s entrance under heavy police guard.
He had failed to turn up in court last week to face charges and a warrant of arrest was issued against him.
He was quoted as saying that he was in Mecca performing the umrah at the time.
Shahidan has been in the news this month after a report went viral, alleging that he had molested a 15-year-old girl.
The teen is said to be from a buskers group that he sponsored.
Shahidan, however, denied the allegations and said it was all just a “misunderstanding”. He had also said that the police report lodged against him over the case had been withdrawn.
The father of the girl also reportedly stated that the matter had been amicably “settled” and the family had decided that there was no need to “blow it out of proportion”.
However, police said investigations must go on and any understanding reached between the victim’s family and the politician was not related to the police.
Shahidan went to Bukit Aman national police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (Oct 30) and was grilled by investigators from 9am till about 4.30pm.
His statement was recorded by the Bukit Aman Sexual, Women and Child Investigations Division.