KANGAR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Former minister in the Prime Minister's Department Shahidan Kassim pleaded not guilty to a charge of molesting an underage girl at the Kangar Sessions Court on Monday (Nov 12).
The former Perlis Umno chief was seen arriving at the court at 8.20am, using a walking stick and clad in a dark blazer and sunglasses. He was accompanied by his wife and two unidentified women.
Some 50 supporters greeted him upon arrival. Inside the courtroom, other supporters also greeted him as he took his seat.
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 incident was alleged to have occurred at the open space of Tuanku Syed Putra Stadium in Kangar at about 11.30pm on Oct 20.
Sessions Court judge Johari Hassan granted Shahidan bail of RM25,000 (S$8,260) with two sureties and allowed him to keep his passport.
He was represented by three lawyers - Ms Thalia Rohaina Abdul Latiff , Mr Syed Muhammad Anwar Syed Lokman Hakim and Mr Zuhair Ahmad Zakuan.
The case is up for mention again on Jan 8.
The former minister has been in the news this month after a report alleging that he had molested a girl aged 15 years and 11 months went viral.
The girl 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He had also said that the police report lodged against him over the case had been withdrawn.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 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.
If convicted, Shahidan faces imprisonment of up to 10 years and whipping. He also risks losing his parliamentary seat.
Shahidan failed to turn up in court last week to face the charges, following which an arrest warrant was issued against him.