File judicial review on rape acquittal, Malaysia's AGC urged

KUALA LUMPUR - Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie has called on the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) to file a judicial review on the Court of Appeal's acquittal of a 60-year-old man on charges of raping a minor.

"We are shocked with the court's decision," Heng told a press conference here yesterday.

Bunya Jalong was accused of raping the girl in May, June, July and August 2011 at a hotel in Sibu. The girl gave birth at the Sibu Hospital on Feb 5, 2012, with a DNA test confirming Bunya to be the baby boy's biological father.

Last week, the Court of Appeal, which sat in Kuching, unanimously acquitted and discharged Bunya, reasoning that it was unsafe to convict him of the charges.

Heng supported Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri in urging the AGC to file a review, despite Deputy Solicitor-General (I) Datuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah saying the AGC had a policy of not filing reviews.

"The AGC has the full discretion to file a review and I will be seeing the A-G next week to discuss this matter," said Heng.

She added that a valid explanation must be given in order to justify the decision and though the full grounds of judgment were yet to be released, the prosecution should have imposed alternative charges on Bunya.

"The victim was a minor and the charges could have been based on that fact," she said.

Heng also commented on the defence counsel's "criticism" against the victim.

"The lawyer has the right to defend his client in court but after a judgment is made, he should not criticise her. This is hurtful."

She urged the Malaysian Bar Council to take disciplinary action against the lawyer.