By John Isaac
THE inclusion of Arau MP Datuk Shahidan Kassim, who was once charged for molesting a 15-year-old girl, in the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (SSC) for women and children’s affairs has been criticised.
DAP’s Lanang MP Alice Lau today said that the Umno MP had once even opposed the formation of the committee.
“I fought very hard for the formation of this SSC. Arau and Bintulu were the two out of seven house committee members who rejected it! He rejected the SSC and now he’s in SSC!
“Welcome Arau to SSC for Women & Children Affairs & Social Development,” she tweeted, with an angry emoji.
According to the Malay Mail, Dewan Rakyat’s Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said this morning announced that the SSC had met online yesterday, and thanked the members for selecting her as its chairman.
Others in the SSC include Rubiah Wang (GPS/PBB-Kota Samarahan), Che Alias Hamid (PAS- Kemaman), Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh (PAS-Pasir Puteh), Fuziah Salleh (PH/PKR-Kuantan), and Lau herself.
Former deputy women’s minister Hannah Yeoh congratulated Azalina’s appointment via Twitter, but sarcastically pointed out that the inclusion of other Barisan Nasional (BN) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) MPs in it were due to the decision of the PN backbenchers’ chief.
“In Parliament, I have also raised the issue of unequal representation in Select Committees,” Yeoh said in a separate tweet.
“It should reflect the actual composition of Opposition, ie if we have close to 50 per cent MPs, we should have at least three to four Opposition MPs in these Committees and not just two!”
The appointment has also been opposed by many social media users due to Shahidan’s alleged history of sexual predatory behaviour.
In April 2019, Shahidan was discharged not amounting to acquittal from a charge of molesting a minor, after the alleged victim dropped her complaint.
He was then charged under Section 14(a) of the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 which handles physical sexual assault on a child by touching any part of the child’s body.
If convicted, he would have faced a jail sentence of not more than 10 years and whipping.
Shahidan was charged with sexual harassment by touching hands to the shoulders of a 15-year-old child in a Toyota Harrier car at the edge of the Tuanku Syed Putra Stadium at Kangar at 11.30pm on October 20, 2018.
The girl is said to be from a buskers’ group that he sponsored.
Shahidan had previously denied the charge and said it was all just a “misunderstanding”. He had also said that the police report lodged against him over the case had been withdrawn.
The father of the girl also reportedly stated that the matter had been amicably “settled” and the family had decided that there was no need to “blow it out of proportion”.