KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 — Arau MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim today stepped forward and publicly admitted to being under investigation for allegedly sexually harassing a 15-year-old girl in Perlis.
The Umno federal lawmaker, who was also formerly Perlis mentri besar, insisted that he would never behave in such a manner even as he berated the media for blowing the incident that he described as a “misunderstanding” out of proportion.
“How did this become viral when the report has been retracted? That bothers me as to which party made the issue public,” he told reporters in Parliament, accompanied by his lawyer Thalia Rohaina Abdul Latiff.
Shahidan said he had cooperated with the ongoing police investigation and hoped the matter could be resolved soon.
“I hope the media will not prolong it because that will damage the reputation of the girl who has a future ahead of her and must be protected,” he said.
The former Umno leader said he was compelled to give his side of the story after the news spread.
He admitted to being in Perlis at the time of the alleged incident, but clarified that he had asked to meet the girl and her entire family in his car after watching the street performance as he wanted to give them some money.
“I was shocked to be informed the next day that a police report was made by the family, but I take no offence with that because we have settled the matter amicably.
“I thought of the girl as my own child or grandchild... these buskers are working part time, I wanted to help them secure more gigs. I said I would help them,” Shahidan said.
He denied claims that he paid off the girl’s family to retract the report, saying he was unaware they had filed a police complaint until they told him about it later.
Asked whether they were in the car alone, he said he has given his statement to the police and will leave it to the authorities to investigate.
Shahidan also claimed the sexual harassment allegation was an attempt to sabotage his political career, but said he will triumph over such obstacles.
Perlis police chief Noor Mushar Mohd said yesterday that despite the retracted complaint, the case is still being investigated under Section 14(a) of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017.
The victim from Arau, Perlis, had written in her police report that she was told by her teacher that the former minister had wanted to see her after he saw her perform with a band at Stadium Tuanku Syed Putra.
The unnamed girl claimed that the talk with the former minister took place in his car and that he had offered to pay her RM4,000 to play a gig in Kuala Lumpur, while holding her hand and caressing her shoulder.
She claimed that she fled after being touched in that manner.