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Shahidan goes public over sexual assault claim, warns of legal action

For the first time since news of a teenager's sexual assault allegation against a former minister surfaced on Monday, Umno lawmaker Shahidan Kassim has gone public over the matter.

The Arau MP claimed the incident was a "misunderstanding" and both sides have apologised.

"I am sure all sides understand the matter and will not prolong it. We leave it up to the police," he told a press conference in Parliament.

Shahidan noted that the police report against him had been retracted but expected investigations to continue.

The former minister admitted that he was with the 15-year-old girl in a car but claimed that he could only meet with the teenager under such circumstances due to his health, which did not allow him to alight from his vehicle.

"As an MP, I give encouragement to all children to only be involved in activities that are halal. So if there are buskers group, musicians, I help all of them - it is normal.

"Even if there are any organising of feasts, I would help out. So that is my intention. I see them as my children and grandchildren.

"The issue of wanting anything more than that does not arise. Besides, I'm not able to walk," said the 67-year-old lawmaker.

Shahidan, who was using a cane, suffered a minor stroke in June.

The former minister also warned that he would take legal action against quarters who continue to circulate the sexual assault allegation.

"I will talk to my lawyer about taking legal action, surely I cannot remain quiet.

"The police report has been retracted but the media is reopening the matter. It is a victimisation of my family, let the police investigate," he said.

Yesterday, Shahidan was questioned by police for seven hours over the matter.

Meanwhile, in Kangar, the 39-year-old father of the girl appealed for a stop to the circulation of his daughter's photograph, saying that it will affect the schoolgirl’s privacy.

According to Bernama, he said that he hoped that the authorities will investigate the source of the photograph and picture of the identity card and take appropriate action against the culprit.

“My daughter is okay. She considers the incident a misunderstanding and that’s why she retracted the police report. We were unsure what had happened when we made the report,” he said to reporters.

The girl's father also dismissed allegations that his family was paid to retract the report.

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