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Labourer charged with defiling surau, stealing idols

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A labourer was charged today in two magistrate’s courts with two counts of defiling a surau and one of stealing deity idols last week.

Helmee Othman, 38, was first charged before magistrate Roslizi Sulaiman with defiling Surau Sabilul Huda in Klang between 4pm and 4.15pm on Feb 20.

He was also charged with stealing deity idols belonging to one Cheong Lin Chai, 51, at a house in Pandaraman between 4pm and 9.30pm on the same day.

Before magistrate Muhammad 'Azzam Zainal Abidin, Helmee was charged with defiling the same surau between 2.30pm and 2.45pm on Feb 23.

Soon after the charge of defiling the surau was read out to him before Roslizi, Helmee pleaded guilty, but his lawyer Nur Aida Md Zainuddin, applied to the court for her client to be subjected to a sanity test before accepting the guilty plea.

The charge was under Section 295 of the Penal Code for defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class of persons.

The offence is punishable with a maximum jail term of two years or a fine, or both, upon conviction.

Nur Aida said the court should first examine the level of sanity and reasoning of an accused because a normal person would not commit any act involving sensitive issues such as religious beliefs.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Fairuz Johari said there was no documentary evidence at this stage to support the fact that the accused had mental problems, but added that he would leave it to the court to make a decision.

Both sides used the same argument in the case of the alleged theft of the deity idols from the house of Cheong.

Roslizi then ordered Helmee to be sent to Hospital Bahagia in Tanjong Rambutan, Perak, for a month for a mental state examination.

He also fixed March 27 for the mention of the case.

The prosecution and defence also used similar arguments in the case before Azzam, who fixed March 27 for the mention of the case.

The media reported last Monday that police had arrested a man after finding three deity idols at the surau.

Klang Selatan police chief Shamsul Amar Ramli reportedly said that the man had admitted to having learned deviant religious teachings in a neighbouring country.


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