Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM
Two teenage boys were charged yesterday in the Magistrate’s Court with the murder of 21 students and two teachers of a religious residential school in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago.
No plea was recorded from the boys, both aged 16, because murder cases come under the jurisdiction of the High Court.
They were jointly charged with the murder of the 23 people at the Pusat Tahfiz Darul Ittifaqiyah in Jalan Keramat Hujung, Kampung Datuk Keramat, Wangsa Maju, between 4.15am and 6.45am on Sept 14.
They were charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 34 of the Penal Code, which provides for the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
The proceedings, which were held in camera from 12.05pm to 12.25pm because it involved juveniles, took place at Magistrate’s Court 7 before Magistrate Siti Radziah Kamarudin. Only the families of the accused were allowed into the courtroom.
Kuala Lumpur director of prosecution Othman Abdullah and deputy public prosecutors Mohd Nordin Ismail and Nurakmal Farhan Aziz appeared for the prosecution. The accused were unrepresented. In the Sept 14 tragedy, a total of 21 students and two wardens were killed while fourteen students survived. The police had detained seven youths, aged between 11 and 18, in connection with the fire which broke out at 5.15am on Sept 14. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said Section 97 (1) of the Child Act 2001 stated that the death penalty cannot be imposed on children under the age of 18.
However, the court may imprison them for as long as consented by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Yang Dipertua Negeri, she added.
In addition, Section 94 of the same Act empowers the court to order the parents of the suspects to pay a fine or compensation, she said in a statement. Azalina said all the suspects were still being remanded and investigated under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder and Section 435 of the same code for mischief by fire.