COUPLE FACE 4 MORE CHARGES
They allegedly exploited 3 children and a man for work purposes
TWO welfare home committee members appeared unperturbed outside the Sessions Court yesterday after they were charged with four counts of human trafficking.
As the married couple left the court under police escort, Muslim Ab Karim, 56, flashed a grin, while Zaleha Mohamad, 54, gave a weak smile as they were bathed in the white flashes of cameras by media photographers.
On May 8 at the Ipoh Sessions Court, Muslim and Zaleha pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of trafficking children, aged between 11 and 13, in order to exploit them to collect donations and sell medicine, among others, in October last year.
Yesterday, Muslim and Zaleha were calm when they claimed trial to trafficking three underage victims and a 20-year-old man on Nov 9 last year.
They were alleged to have trafficked the children, then aged between 15 and 17, and Ahmad Fudhail Hussaini for work purposes.
Two of the children and Fudhail were purportedly trafficked at a petrol station at Tanjung Lumpur here, while the third child was allegedly trafficked at a kopitiam at Lorong Tun Ismail 1 here.
Both Muslim, who is chairman of Pusat Latihan Amal Bestari, and Zaleha, the treasurer of the centre, operated several tahfiz centres in the country.
They face a maximum prison of 20 years and fine if found guilty under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Act 2007.
Deputy public prosecutor Jaizah Jaafar Sidek urged the court to deny bail as there was a risk of both accused tampering with witnesses.
“This case involves the exploitation of underage children,” she said, adding that the risk was high due to Muslim and Zaleha’s positions in Pusat Latihan Amal Bestari.
“There is concern that they (Muslim and Zaleha) may try to influence the families of the victims,” said Jaizah, who reminded the court that even the Ipoh Sessions Court did not grant bail to the couple.
She added that Muslim and Zaleha would face more charges at Raub today and Kota Baru, Kelantan on Sunday.
Judge Siti Aminah Ghazali denied bail and fixed June 19 for mention.
The couple were not represented.
Muslim Ab Karim and his wife Zaleha Mohamad being escorted to the Sessions Court in Kuantan yesterday.