TENOM, May 21 — A witness told the Magistrates’ Court here today that preacher Ebit Irawan Ibrahim Lew, also known as Ebit Lew, sent her obscene messages despite it being the month of Ramadan.

The woman, in her 40s, who is the complainant and ninth prosecution witness, said Ebit Lew sent her about 70 obscene WhatsApp messages between 10.57pm and midnight on April 19, 2021.

Although it was the month of Ramadan, she said Ebit Lew still sent her these messages and she felt that the obscene and flattering remarks were an affront to her dignity.

According to the witness Ebit Lew’s public persona on social media starkly contrasted with the private messages he sent her. While he often portrayed his wife as an angel, his messages to her painted a very different, disturbing picture.

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“When he sent those messages, it was as if he saw women as nothing more than objects for sexual gratification,” she said during examination-in chief by deputy public prosecutor Zahida Zakaria in the preacher’s sexual harassment trial.

The witness said that in addition to sending messages from early morning until night, Ebit Lew would also call her and use obscene language.

During today’s proceedings, Zahida requested an oral amendment to the first charge against Ebit Lew, specifically changing the time from 6am to 8.07am.

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The court allowed the amendment following the witness’ testimony regarding the sequence of events, in which she stated that she received a picture of the accused’s genitals at 8.07am March 29, 2021.

Ebit Lew, 38, faces 11 charges, including outraging the modesty of a woman in her 40s by sending obscene words and images to the victim’s phone number via the WhatsApp application between March and June 2021.

The charges under Section 509 of the Penal Code provide a prison sentence of up to five years or a fine or both if convicted.

During the evening proceedings before Magistrate Nur Asyraf Zolhani, the witness testified that Ebit Lew invited her to Kuala Lumpur and offered to provide a plane ticket, which she declined.

She said this in response to DPP Analia Kamaruddin’s question about the meaning of the WhatsApp messages exchanged on May 18, 2021, between Ebit Lew and the complainant at 3.16am and 3.49am, which read “nanti datang Kuala Lumpur” and “datanglah Kuala Lumpur.”

The witness also testified that on the same date, she received between 200 and 250 lewd messages from Ebit Lew between 2.31am and 4am, and she took screenshots of these messages.

The trial continues this Thursday (May 23). — Bernama