IPOH – A husband and wife were each sentenced to 15 months’ jail and fined RM28,000 by the Sessions Court here Wednesday after they pleaded guilty to 28 counts of exploiting 19 children and teenagers into becoming beggars since 2016.
Muslim Ab Karim, 67, and Zaleha Mohamad, 55, who were detained on May 7 last year, were also ordered to serve one month’s jail for each count if they failed to pay the fine.
They were also ordered by judge Murtazadi Amran to do 100 hours of community service each.
In his judgment, Murtazadi said the sentences were meted out on the two accused to serve as a lesson to other offenders that the court would not hesitate to impose a deterrent sentence.
According to the charge sheet, the chairman and treasurer of Amal Bestari Training Centre based in Yan, Kedah were jointly charged with having the intention to exploit seven boys and 12 girls aged between 11 and 17 to become beggars by selling herbal gels and calendars.
They were alleged to have committed the offences around Persiaran Greentown 6 area, Greentown Business Centre at 8pm on Oct 7, 2016; around CIMB Bank Taiping branch area, Jalan Panggung Wayang, and at a Maybank branch in Jalan Medan Saujana 1, Kamunting, Taiping, at 1.45am on Oct 8 the same year.
The duo also committed the offence in front of the CIMB Bank Bandar Raub Perdana branch, Raub, Pahang at 8.30pm and in front of Kemaman Kopitiam, Kuantan, Pahang, at 11pm on Nov 9, 2016, in front of a Bank Islam branch in Jalan Mahmood, Kota Baru, Kelantan between 11.35pm on March 13, 2017 and 12.24am the following day.
The charge under Section 32(a) of the Child Act 2001 read together with Section 34 of the Penal Code carries a maximum fine of RM20,000 or a jail term of up to five years, or both, or to do community service upon conviction.
The prosecution was conducted by deputy public prosecutors Mohamad Abazafree Mohd Abbas, Jaizah Jaafar Sidek and Nadia Zulkefli while both the accused were represented by counsel Zambri Idrus. – BERNAMA