Monday, October 1, 2018

Crime and Punishment

Malaysian justice is sometimes, terribly screwed up! 

From the local news archives, check out these three theft/robbery cases that I uncovered: 

Case 1: On May 20, 2011, unemployed Nor Azmi Mohd Amin was jailed two years for stealing shampoo worth RM107.40 at a supermarket in Taman Kota Masai in Pasir Gudang, Johor. 

Case 2: On December 13, 2011, Mohd Hishanudin Abdullah, 32, robbed 18-year-old Muhamad Ismail Al-Rashid Ramli of RM20 at Jalan Masjid Sultan Zainal Abidin in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu. He had pleaded for leniency – he needed the money desperately to buy milk for his one-year-old twins. Still, he was jailed for three years. 

Case 3: Twenty-year-old Shashikumar Selvam stole some rice and two cans of sardines, basic food items. And the first-time offender was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Two years later, he was found hanged in his cell in Kluang prison on May 22, 2015. 

[Note: The news report didn't put a value on the stolen goods. Anyway, I’m calculating it based on Ayam Brand Sardines in Tomato Sauce, 425g @ RM16 for two cans and Jasmine Super Special Tempatan 5%, 5kg @ RM13, as per Tesco Malaysia prices on October 01, 2018 – totalling RM29].

Three days later, Shashikumar’s grandmother lodged a police report that she suspected foul play. And only on November 13, 2017, Johor Bahru coroner Kamarudin Kamsun ruled her grandson’s death as a homicide. 

He had described the evidence of the pathologist who performed the autopsy on Shashikumar as “a good story but not a true story” – as it was not backed by evidence. Additionally, the coroner said there was evidence to demand police investigate persons who were responsible, whether inmates or prison officers. 

Of course, stealing/robbing is a crime. From the above cases, the theft/robbery value varies from RM20 to RM107.40 but the jail sentences meted out range from 2 years to 10 years! 

Consider this case. On June 13, 2018, a 39-year-old Sereman babysitter shoved a green chilli into the mouth of a two-year-old baby under her care till he choked to death.

Asmarani Ghazali (left) pleaded not guilty when she was charged with the toddler's murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code. Instead, she pleaded guilty to an alternative charge under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act, read together with Section 31(5)(b). 

While the alternative charge provides a jail term of up to 20 years or a fine of up to RM50,000, High Court judge Abu Bakar Jais saw it fit to sentence the accused to one-and-a-half years in prison. 

It's a joke, right? It's MURDER, for God's sake! 

What is happening to our justice system? The punishment does not fit the crime!

On another matter, the High Court has ruled that the 2006 evidence from the Altantuya Shaariibuu (right) criminal case, which found two police officers guilty of her murder, cannot be used in the RM100 million civil suit by her family against the Malaysian government. 

This means the family would have to prove that they murdered her all over again. 

The standard of proof required in a civil court is at a lower level (called "the balance of probabilities") compared to the standard required in a criminal court (which is called "beyond a reasonable doubt"). 

Therefore, evidence in a criminal case will have to go through a more stringent test than in a civil case – yet strangely, in Malaysia, it cannot be used in a civil suit – as per Section 43 of the Evidence Act. The ruling was made based on the old English position of law which we in Malaysia have yet to amend. 

An appeal is expected to be filed this week.

No comments: