Hilmi Malek can be charged, says Zahid

PETALING JAYA: Hilmi Malek, the man in the middle of police investigations into Elizabeth Wong’s scandalous pictures, could be charged in a Syariah Court for various offences if she admits to their relationship.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said although Wong was a non-Muslim, her testimony was valid in a Syariah Court.

“Any confession by Wong of a relationship can lead to her boyfriend being charged with zina (unlawful intercourse) or khalwat (close proximity) in a Syariah Court,” said Zahid.

Ahmad Zahid, who is in charge of Islamic affairs, said the Syariah Court had no jurisdiction to charge Wong as she is a non-Muslim.

However, if Wong confessed to having a sexual relationship with Hilmi, the punishment would be heavier for him, he added.

“On this matter, I agree that the man must be brought before the Syariah Court to clear his name and her name,” he said.

Selangor Religious Department public relations officer Mohd Hidayat Abd Rani said there needed to be sufficient evidence to charge Hilmi for khalwat.

“If the department’s officers caught them together during a raid or there is a witness who saw them together alone (in a room), only then can they be charged,” he said.

He said the department could only remind people not to behave in such a manner.

Civil and Syariah lawyer Akbar Din Abdul Kader. however, does not think that a confession from Wong would be a wise option.

“What happens if he denies the allegation or does not confess? She would then need to produce four witnesses,” he said.

“The Penal Code is the best form of action for her. Under the Penal Code, the scope of investigation is wider and the punishment heavier.”

Wong’s lawyer Derek Fernandez said she would take legal action if there was any violation of her rights in the publication of the pictures or other material.

“The police have informed us that they will prosecute anyone who publishes the pictures,” he said.

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