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In the last couple of weeks we came across two corruption convictions for two senior civil servants. The first one was a Syariah court judge in Perak who solicited money to manipulate justice and he was sentenced to 19 years and on concurrence, will serve only 10 years in jail pending appeal and the second one was an ex-Deputy Director General of Immigration Department who abused his position by approving the extension passes of Chinese national in return for money. A group of charges were preferred against him and he was found guilty on all counts. He was sentenced to 56 years jail but concurrently he would only serve six years.

Hassan Basri Markum -The first Syariah court judge jailed for corruption

Now I am no lawyer and my legal knowledge is almost nil. What I don’t understand is why the former was jailed for 10 years and the latter only six years? The gravity of the charges, to me, is more severe in the latter as it involves the security of the country. Though I must admit the Syariah Judge is a position of law interpretation and the meting out of justice and so the position should be beyond reproach.Corruption among judges would eventually result in the loss of trust in our legal system and justice being trampled. There is no recourse for the poor, the weak and the powerless. As a judge he should mete out justice according to the law of the land with impartiality. Failing which the Society will be be doomed. Could this reasoning lead to the difference in sentencing?

Yusof Abu Bakar

As for Yusof Abu Bakar, the convicted ex- Deputy Director General of Immigration, he should consider himself lucky to just get six years for his dastardly actions. If you look at him, he seemed a decent man who smiled and at ease with himself. Actually I have interacted with this man and found him to be very friendly and approachable. Always nice and pleasant so it came as a shocking disappointment when I read about his corruption charges. He traded his reputation and freedom for money and had to pay dearly for it. I wish I had mentioned to him in our conversation that I despise corruption in civil service and that it didn’t pay and that his innocent family would suffer if he were found out and charged and then convicted. In his line of duty, corruption is a great risk and for law breakers with money, the amount given to law-enforcers is of no consideration.

And to all of us, law abiding and security-conscious people, we abhor his corrupt practices and he deserves to be punished for his grave violations. I am ashamed of him.

Yet his boss, the ex-Director General of Immigration with more or less similar charges was eventually acquitted, now how come that be? Looks like Wahid (the boss) had a better lawyer or poor prosecution. The Prosecution should do a post-mortem and learn from their mistakes and ensure the next case will be successfully prosecuted. And hopefully the Judges would see the wood for the trees.

Anyway, I am having some feel good factor about this war on corruption at the moment in Malaysia. For the first time we have this level of officers being convicted and it looks good for PM Najib’s administration. I am sure we are all waiting for alleged corrupt politicians, the like of Khir Toyo and Ling Liong Sik to be brought to justice so that the government would appear sincere and fair in its efforts to fight corruption in this country.

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