IPOH, Dec 7 — The High Court here today ordered Tronoh assemblyman Paul Yong to enter his defence for the charge of raping his former Indonesian maid two years ago.

Judge Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed made the ruling against the 51-year-old after finding that the prosecution had successfully shown prima facie at the end of its case.

“After evaluating all the statements and submissions from both the prosecution team and the lawyers, I call the accused to enter his defence,” he said.

“The statement given by the victim, who is one of the witnesses, was consistent throughout trial even though she was constantly questioned by the lawyers. She was sad and crying when testifying.

“Her statement on the accused penetrating her private parts with his private parts, that she tried to fight and scream, but could not be heard as the door was closed when the incident happened.

“Also, that she tried to resist the accused, but couldn’t as she said that he is bigger than her, and ran to the bathroom and washed herself as feel disgusted, dirty and insulted were all taken into consideration.

“The doctor who examined the victim had testified that the victim has fresh tear in her hymen and all these elements prove the prima facie,” he added.

The court set February 15 and 16 for the accused to enter his defence.

State prosecution director Azlina Rashdi prosecuted together with Mohd Fitri Sadarudin while Yong was represented by counsel Datuk Rajpal Singh and Salim Bashir.

Asked by Abdul Wahab how many witnesses would be called to testify, Rajpal said the defence was looking at three to four witnesses.

Abdul Wahab also told the accused that he could defend himself by giving a sworn statement from the witness stand, by giving an unsworn statement from the dock, or choose to remain silent.

Yong chose to defend himself by giving a sworn statement from the witness stand.

The prosecution had called a total 23 witnesses including two protected witnesses, which includes the victim, to testify during the trial of the case which began on April 5.

Only seven media personnel were allowed to be present in the court room during the proceeding today on a first come first serve basis, while others were placed in the media room to cover via video streaming.

Today’s proceedings started at 10.20am and lasted about 20 minutes.

Lawyer Datuk Rajpal Singh speaks to the press at the High Court in Ipoh December 7, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Lawyer Datuk Rajpal Singh speaks to the press at the High Court in Ipoh December 7, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib

When met outside the court, Rajpal said that the defence respected the judge’s decision.

“This is quite common in cases like this due to fresh tears in the victim’s hymen. The judge will evaluate the statement from our witnesses and will decide whether the rape allegations had really taken place or not. My client is innocent until proven guilty,” he told reporters.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Embassy’s coordinator for consular affairs, Rijal Al Huda, said that his country was hoping for a fair decision from the court.

“We are happy with what happen today. We look forward for the next session of the proceeding.

“We hope that the victim will have her justice as she has been disconnected from her family and hometown for more than two years already,” he said.

Yong, a former DAP member who is now with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), was accompanied today by his wife, Buntong assemblyman A. Sivasubramaniam, who also quit DAP and joined Bersatu, and Titi Serong assemblyman Hasnul Zulkarnain Abd Munaim.

Yong was first charged in the Sessions Court here on August 23, 2019, when he was the state Housing, Local Government, Public Transport, Non-Islamic Affairs and New Villages Committee chairman.

He was charged under Section 376 (1) of the Penal Code, which carries a term of imprisonment for up to 20 years and is liable to whipping, if found guilty.

He pleaded not guilty to a charge of raping his Indonesian domestic helper at his house in Meru Desa Park on July 7, 2019 between 8.15pm and 9.15pm.

The case was mentioned in the Sessions Court but, on December 15 last year, the Federal Court allowed an application by the defence to transfer the case to the High Court.