Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Source (The Star/ANN)
The Sabah Welfare Department is taking steps to take a 13-year-old alleged rape victim under its care and protection while trying to nullify her marriage to the man accused of having sex with her.
Announcing this, state Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Jainab Ahmad appealed to the prosecution to go ahead with the statutory rape charge against 40-year-old restaurant manager Riduan Masmud.
Jainab said she had directed her officers to take immediate action to obtain a court order to have the girl placed under the care and protection of the department under the Child Act 2001.
"The girl is young and cannot decide for herself. She needs counselling and we have to hear her side. She was 12 years and six months old when the alleged offence took place," she added.
Jainab cast doubts on the legality of the marriage between Riduan and the girl after checking with Syariah court officials.
"A registrar told me there were two applications one from the man seeking consent to take a second wife, and another from the father of the girl seeking permission for his daughter to marry.
"They told me the father's application was allowed but there was no consent given for the man to take a second wife," she told reporters here yesterday.
On a personal note, she said she was saddened that the father had allowed his daughter to marry Riduan, who has four children, aged two to 17 years.
"Is it to hide the shame? Is it (the marriage) going to resolve the matter? This is very disturbing," she said.
The Sessions Court on Monday gave the prosecution until June 6 to decide on whether it wanted to proceed with rape charges against Riduan after the girl withdrew the rape report against him on April 18.
Riduan was charged on Feb 28 with statutory rape of the girl inside a car parked by the roadside in Inanam near here at about 10am on Feb 18.
Counsel Loretto J. Padua informed the court that the syariah marriage certificate had been presented to the investigating officer and confirmed that the two were now married.
Riduan is out on 8,000 ringgit (US$2,650) bail.