What ‘hearsay’? Elements of sexual grooming clear in Kelantan case, group tells DPM

LFL executive director Latheefa Koya pointed out that the suspect has attempted to wed the child, and even lived together with her. —  Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali
LFL executive director Latheefa Koya pointed out that the suspect has attempted to wed the child, and even lived together with her. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 — Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail must explain why there is a delay in taking action against the man who sexually groomed an 11-year-old girl in Kelantan, a group has said.

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) executive director Latheefa Koya said the facts were not being disputed, as the 41-year-old suspect has already admitted to wanting to be with the child since she was 7-years-old.

Latheefa pointed out that the suspect has attempted to wed the child, and even lived together with her.

“The simple question for purpose of prosecution is whether an act of sexual grooming took place upon this child.”

“Why is Dr Wan Azizah then giving the excuse of ‘hearsay’ when the facts are well established and admitted even by the perpetrator?” she said in a statement.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also women, family and community development minister had said the case has to be thoroughly investigated before a concrete criminal action can be taken and was currently being reviewed by the Attorney General Chambers (AGC) as it is a complex case involving different parties.

The Pandan MP also said action taken must be evidence-based and not solely on media reports or hearsay.

Latheefa said the issue of “hearsay” does not arise at all because investigators have had plenty of time to record statements from all concerned, including the perpetrator himself

“The facts above amount to the serious offence of sexual grooming under the Sexual Offences Act 2017 and there is no reasonable excuse for failing to enforce the provisions of Act to the fullest extent in this shocking and obvious case.

“In the face of a sex crime upon a helpless child that has outraged the nation, Wan Azizah continues to give untenable excuses whilst the perpetrator walks free and unpunished, to the increasing anger and disgust of the public,” she said.

She also demanded Dr Wan Azizah to explain the reasons why no prosecution has been brought and said it was unacceptable for the latter to simply pass the buck to the AGC as the AGC is not in Parliament to do so.

“Dr Wan Azizah’s excuse that the investigation is still ongoing and that she cannot comment further may have been acceptable a month ago; but it is intolerable now.”

“The minister must not dither and leave Malaysia in the lurch as the case has become international news,” she said.

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