AG orders dismissal of Ipoh tahfiz school sexual abuse case, despite court previously recognising offence

The family's lawyer Asiah Abd Jalil (pic) said that the provision empowers the AG with the discretion to discontinue any proceeding for an offence. ― Picture by Farhan Najib
The family's lawyer Asiah Abd Jalil (pic) said that the provision empowers the AG with the discretion to discontinue any proceeding for an offence. ― Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Oct 14 — The Magistrate’s Court here has decided today to dismiss the case of alleged sexual abuse against a minor at a tahfiz school in Manjoi, Ipoh, merely two months after recognising that an offence did take place.

Magistrate Mohammad Afifi Mohammad Deen made the decision after the court was provided with a letter from the Perak State Legal Adviser’s Office detailing a directive by Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas written under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution. 

The family’s lawyer, Asiah Abd Jalil, who was present with co-counsel Raja Norhajjah Ahmad, said that the provision empowers the AG with the discretion to discontinue any proceeding for an offence.

“We have exhausted all avenues to get answers as to why the case was marked as ‘No Further Action’,” she told reporters here when met outside the court.

Article 145(3) states that the AG “shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial”.

Malay Mail is currently seeking clarification from both AG Thomas and the Perak State Legal Adviser as to why the case was ordered to be dismissed.

The mother of the boy who was allegedly consistently abused, together with other students, by their seniors over a period of five months at Maahad Tahfiz al Barakah previously owned by popular preacher Datuk Kazim Elias, will now consider filing a civil suit.

“As I can see, justice has not been served,” she said.

“As an alternative, I’m contemplating to take a civil suit against the school by negligence,” she added. 

On August 7, the court acknowledged that an offence did take place in the case following the complaint made by the victim's mother on the same day, under the Section 377E and Section 14(a) of the more recent Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 — that handles physical sexual assault on a child. 

The court then instructed the Deputy Public Prosecutor, to attend today’s proceeding to explain why the investigation paper was closed previously with no suspects identified, despite the victim being able to recognise the suspects. 

The alleged offence took place three years ago in a tahfiz school teaching Quran memorisation, then owned by Kazim.

In August 2016, the mother had lodged two police reports alleging that her son, then nine years old, was consistently sexually abused together with other students by their seniors in the tahfiz school.

In December that year, the police had informed the mother that there would be no further action over the case.

Despite providing additional documents and evidence to support her claim, the victim's mother was again told in May 2018 that no further action would be taken, citing lack of witnesses and concrete evidence to support the allegation.

Meanwhile, the victim, who is now 13, still undergoing psychiatric therapy to overcome his trauma at the Hospital Bahagia in Tanjung Rambutan. 

His mother added that the boy's therapy is only scheduled to conclude in 2021. 

Kazim no longer owns the tahfiz school, claiming that a falling number of speaking appointments had made it difficult for him to manage the centre.

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