A couple was jailed 15 months and fined in Ipoh after they pleaded guilty to child exploitation. (Photo: Twitter/Bernama)
IPOH: A husband-and-wife couple were each sentenced to 15 months' jail and fined RM28,000 (S$9,500) by the Sessions Court in Ipoh on Thursday (Feb 22) after they pleaded guilty to 28 counts of exploiting 19 children and teenagers.
Muslim Ab Karim, 67, and Zaleha Mohamad, 55, had been forcing the children into begging since 2016. They were detained on May 7 last year.
The duo was also ordered to serve one month's jail on each count if they failed to pay the fine, and made to do 100 hours of community service by judge Murtazadi Amran.
In his judgment, Murtazadi said the sentences were meted out on the two accused to educate other offenders that the court would not hesitate to impose a more deterrent sentence.
“The amendment of the law relating to children in Parliament demonstrates the seriousness of this offence and protects children from being exploited,” he said.
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, forcing them to become beggars and sell herbal gel and calendars.
They were alleged to have committed the offences in areas like that around the CIMB Bank and Maybank branches in Taiping, the CIMB Bank in Raub, Pahang, the Bank Islam in Kota Bharu, Kelangan and the Kemaman Kopitiam in Kuantan, Pahang.
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.