Sunday, March 15, 2009

Justice is blind, but should it be cruelly blind?

Yesterday I posted Insulting Perak Sultan - punishment must fit the crime! based on a Malaysiakini news article titled Six in court for insulting sultan, one fined RM10,000

Some of my readers still don’t get it, that the posted 'insult' to the Sultan is not a major crime. I would consider it as only a minor misdemeanour.

We no longer live in the days of Hang Tuah where the Sultan could order a citizen killed. My great grandfather who came from southern Thailand told us that in ye olde rotten days, the Sultan there would bury anyone he didn't like right up to that poor bastard's neck (in front of his Istana) and let the unfortunate soul die slowly out of thirst.

OK, back to the present - and what was the associated charge for the 'insult' to the Sultan?

Section 233 (1)(A) of the Multimedia and Communications Act 1998 for "unwise use of network or network services for making comments, demands, suggestions or communication which are vulgar, false, threatening or disturbing".

And what was the poor bastard’s precise ‘unwise use of network or network services’ that saw him being fined a humongous RM10K, an amount equal to 6 months of his salary.

Bloke wrote (translated from Malay by Malaysiakini in Sultan's guestbook 'deactivated'):

What is the advantage of being the Sultan? Why should you be worshipped and glorified? You are just lucky that you were born in a royal family but the fact remains that you are only a human being and have nothing to be proud of. I will not worship a Sultan but you have been entrusted to fight for justice. It is unfortunate that you have betrayed it. Because of you, the people of Perak will have to suffer all over again.

Disrespectful certainly, but pray tell me, in all honesty and objectivity, where was it that was ‘vulgar, false, threatening or disturbing’?

And even if he were to be punished by the courts for disrespect, mind you for a first offence, should it be by a fine of half a year’s salary?

As I said in my previous blog, the quantum of the fine has been in itself an injustice.

Perhaps the title of my previous post should have been Insulting Perak Sultan - crime must fit the punishment! and not punishment must fit the crime!


  1. I see it is a direct challenge

    Malas nk ckp bnyk

    Berani buat berani tanggung

    Should a thief get lighter punishment just because he's poor?

  2. adlibudiman,

    to answer your question, many judges in developed countries, do take into account the social background before deciding on the sentence.

    is that a shock to you?

    I have disagreed with KT many times but I think he is absolutely right this time. The posting aint desecrating and to my mind is a fair comment.

    Would be charged for agreeing with the unfortunate victim? In any event, did you see the banners in KT unfurled by UMNO? Its a thousand tims worse but do you see UMNO being charged? Ironically, now the corrupt wants to use the royalty to the hilt for its political ends.

    You know what the bible says about hypocrites? God will spit them out!

  3. I lost a great deal of respect and trust for Dr. Mahathir after his 1998 at-all-costs stunt against Anwar Ibrahim, but I'm thankful for his sane and factual write-up on the situation in Perak.

    UMNO screaming at the top of its voice "Derhaka" and using every and all levers of power bulldoze its way through - is going to be damaged by this in the end.

    Did you notice from the list of those charged over this issue, that the majority of those heavily upset are ordinary Malays ?

    I'm just surprised all these Hulubalang don't see this coming. Or maybe its just another symptom of how out-of-touch UMNO and BN is from ordinary people.

  4. the hell do you mean by a thousand times worse? don't exaggerate.

    I dont recall any BN leaders giving consent to what was displayed in KT. Pakatan leaders were shouting out that they want to sue the sultan, creating havoc and calling for a demonstration. and to top it off, we have the supporters hacking websites, throwing stones and hurling insulting comments in blogs.

    BN didn't take it to the next level, Pakatan did.

    When the sultan didnt make a decision favoring pakatan's side, baru la nk sebok cerite pasal rasuah sultan lah hape la, before this you guys were kissing ass so bad, your mouths were starting to stink. so who's the hypocrite now? what? you think god doesn't want to spit you out too?

    I still think 10k is too small of amount to what the kid did.

    whats the point of giving punishment if people can easily pay up and commit the offense again?

    and do you seriously think malaysia is a developed country? with clowns running around calling themselves politicians? dream on la

  5. I am stunned and (almost) speechless... I've been so busy of late that I've not been keeping up with any Malaysian news, just the headlines. When I heard about this poor lab assisant I thought to myself he must have really gone off the deep end, and furthermore in a previous post you did say his comment was "feral".

    I do hope there's more to what he said than what you have quoted here, because if it's just limited to the above, there is nothing in it that we should deem worthy of any punishment whatsoever. Where's the "feral" bit? Or am I confusing two different cases here?

  6. int, I said 'a wee feral' within the context of a Malay's traditional respect for and subservience to a Sultan - I've alluded to my take that legally the prosecutor is on thin ice to effect any conviction (eg. 'Disrespectful certainly, but pray tell me, in all honesty and objectivity, where was it that was ‘vulgar, false, threatening or disturbing’?', other than stretching a long bow to claim offence of a 'disturbing' nature.

    Adlibudiman, forget about who's worse in offending HRH's as suggested by Anon of 8:04 PM, March 15, 2009. That has not been nor is it my point in this and the last posts.

    I'm not so concerned about the fine per se as I am about its magnitude (RM$10,000).

    When handing out a sentence, there are factors for the court to consider, such as the seriousness of the so-called offence, whether it's of a repetitive unrepentent nature, whether violence was offered, and most importantly whether a plea of guilt was offered by the accused, etc.

    At most, within the context of Malay traditional respect for HRH, it's a minor misdemeanor, meriting at most (considering a guilty plea was tendered) a light slap on the wrist, in the form of a court warning or a symbolic fine of RM100 - with the implied message "Sonny, you've been naughty so don't do it again, OK!".

    But RM10,000 is light years over the top, suggesting a punishment beyond what the so-called offence calls for.

    You work it why!

  7. Kt,
    In this times of the last Royal age what is the difference between his blood and the common man .The trouble we are now being forced to respect and they expect fear to reign us down!If they are at ALL GOOD AND FAIR this would'nt have happened!
    Worship God The Almighty and not this royals!They were man made!

  8. Anon of 9:22 AM, March 16, 2009, and those who belaboured the view that UMNO had been worse than PKR/PR in committing 'treasonable' behaviour towards the Sultan in KT, please hold off for a while as your points (while good for debate in another post) are muddying the waters here on the inexplicable magnitude of the fine of RM10,000 for what has been just a minor misdemeanor.

    I am amazed by such a humongous fine and wonder about its motive? Has it been legislatively punitive per se? I consider an appeal against such a sum not only appropriate but justice-wise, obligatory.

  9. The Rm 10K fine is just the beginning. Those who claimed trial could well be jailed up to the maximum if found guilty.

    I you snatched a grandmother's handnbag and pushed her into the longkang, you would likely get away with a lighter punishment.

  10. Anon 9:22am, you took the words right out of my mouth. I saw the same connection as well. I don't see this as purely a Malay "adat" issue, I think it is an Islamic issue as well.

    If you look at the language that lab assistant number 2 had used, the word "worship" appears twice. Now, as the Sultans are the leaders of Islam in their respective states, it is perhaps occasionally necessary to remind everyone that they are not to be the objects of worship themselves, which lab assistant number 2 has bluntly done.

    PAS should take up this issue. They have been softballing all this while, letting Karpal do the heavy lifting on behalf of Nizar, now is the time to step up.

    As far as I am concerned, lab assistant number 2 has done nothing wrong. I've seen far worse things said about the Sultan on facebook etc. Maybe they really are out to get lab assistants...!

  11. adlibudiman said...
    I dont recall any BN leaders giving consent to what was displayed in KT.

    Pak Lah said and quoted in mainstream paper that the act by Terengganu Royal was 'unconstitutional'. That reads 'ILLEGAL' and 'WRONG'. Mat Said then himself said that he didn't expect to be MB long as he expected his BN colleagues to continue to disagree with the Sultan and pass a motion of no confidence against him..

    In my book, the above not only gave consent but also incite the public to disregard the Sultan's decision.

    So, pi sekolah, baca buku dulu ye kecik...


  12. ROFL.

    Colonized that gain freedom will end up become the colonist, worst, enact the feudal rules to enjoy endless "benefit". Alas, when there is a revolt, such corruption will be pay by grusome slaughtering.

    What so special about royal? Why there is jokers take it seriously ? Isn't it is a SLAVE MENTALITY that those people possess?

    Yes, I dare to call name, I mean adlibudiman are SLAVE himself, a willing slave that submit himself for slavery for some benefit.

    It is a waste of time to talk about liberty with such people. 2000 years ago, a philosopher has told us that, you can describe ice to a bug that never live pass the autumn season.

  13. I'm on the technician's side. But something doesn't quite sound right when an averagely paid technician lives in upmarket Taman Tun and coughs up a $10,000 fine just like that.

    Or maybe it's just my cynicism, I dontch knows!!

  14. KT

    Just my opinion

    I don't think he was fined RM10,000 for a punishment beyond what the so-called offence calls for. Its not the comment , but rather it has something to go with the hacking and defacement of the Sutan's website ? Sometime ago even AAB's official website was hacked and defaced . However no action was taken as no one was charged for that ! I see it more as a deterrent rather than the comment issue which is a minor misdemeanor.

  15. : chaptokam,

    they were punished for the comments, not for defacing it or hacking it. and since u have pointed it out, why isnt the hacker brought in? only commenters? =/. it just gets more puzzling.