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Judicial CP - February 2005

Corpun file 15145


The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 5 February 2005

Jailed - addict who allegedly shot cop

KOTA TINGGI: A drug addict who allegedly shot a policeman at a checkpoint was jailed 14 months for possessing a knife and obstructing a civil servant from carrying out his duties.

Abd Muthalib Sulong, 24, however, denied shooting L/Kpl Musa anak Sehit at Felda Papan Timur in Bandar Penawar here at 3pm on Jan 18.

OFF TO JAIL: Abd Muthalib being led out of the Kota Tinggi magistrate's court Friday.

According to the facts of the case, L/Kpl Musa was patrolling the area with four policemen when he stopped Abd Muthalib.

A struggle broke out and L/Kpl Musa managed to snatch the 15cm knife pulled out by Abd Muthalib, who then grabbed the policeman's pistol and fired two shots.

Abd Muthalib fled with the pistol and was later nabbed at a house in Masai on Jan 26.

Magistrate Nur 'Aman Mahmud Zuhudi sentenced Abd Muthalib to 12 months’ jail and one stroke of the cane for having the knife.

For obstructing the policeman from carrying out his duties, Abd Muthalib was jailed two months.

The sentences are to run concurrently from the date of arrest on Jan 26.

Abd Muthalib, who told the court he had a previous conviction for drug possession, drew laughter from the public when he said his occupation was “drug addict.”

He was replying to the magistrate who asked “Apa kerja kamu? (What is your occupation?).”

At the Sessions Court, Abd Muthalib claimed trial to shooting L/Kpl Musa with the intention of injuring him.

He also pleaded not guilty to possessing a Smith and Wesson pistol while struggling with L/Kpl Musa who was given the authority to arrest him.

Sessions Court judge Kunju Krishnan Nair ordered Abd Muthalib to appoint a counsel pending hearing on March 30.

1995-2004 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

Corpun file 15149


The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 5 February 2005

Please whip me, says addict

By Loong Meng Yee

SHAH ALAM: A drug addict with a string of convictions pleaded with a judge yesterday to let him have more whippings in exchange for a shorter time in jail.

Mohd Nor Alias, 42, told Sessions Court judge Suraya Othman that he would rather endure the painful whippings than languish in jail because he had spent most of the last 10 years of his life behind bars.

The tailor had been jailed in Singapore and was in local jails for various offences, including attempted robbery, drug abuse, housebreaking and, the latest, for possession of heroin in 2002. He was jailed two years for the last offence.

Mohd Nor said he had committed the offences to feed his drug addiction. He pleaded for a chance to redeem himself, saying he had cooperated with the police when he was arrested on Dec 11, last year for possessing 107.2gm of ganja in a room in Taman Sri Batu Caves.

He also pleaded guilty when the charge was read out to him yesterday.

Suraya cautioned Mohd Nor that the whippings were not easy to take, as the lashings were carried out using a thick stick akin to “chota” (batons).

“Addicts should be sent to rehabilitation centres. From your past record, I see that you were never sent to one.

“You continued to commit crimes to feed your habit in the past decade despite coming out from jails. Maybe there were no rehabilitation facilities there and you had never come clean,” said Suraya.

The judge ordered him to be jailed five years and be given 10 strokes of the rotan. She also placed him under police supervision for two years after his release.

Suraya advised Mohd Nor to check into a rehabilitation centre after serving his jail term.

“Maybe you will lead the rest of your life being a useful person after you kick the habit,” Suraya said.

To this Mohd Nor answered: “Insyallah (God willing).”

Chief Insp Mohd Nazri Mohd Noor was the prosecuting officer.

1995-2004 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

Corpun file 15281


The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 9 February 2005

Impostor gets total of 71 years

By M. Mageswari

KUALA LUMPUR: A VCD seller who impersonated an Immigration officer to rob seven Bangladeshis was jailed a total of 71 years and ordered to be whipped 14 times by the Sessions Court here.

M. Ravi Dass, 42, admitted to robbing factory workers Dula L, Md Awayat Molla Md Amjet Molla, Shohidul Islam Salaudin, Md Gholam Sarwar Md Badiuzzaman Sarker, Md Anis Asab Uddin, Md Mostafizur Rahman Azizur Rahman and Md Alamgir Miah Nur Baks Miah.

Ravi was said to have committed the offence with four others still at large.

The court was told that Dula and his housemates were enjoying dinner in their rented house in Jalan Ipoh when they heard knocks on their door at 11.30pm on Aug 28, 2003.

Dula opened the door to five men who introduced themselves as Immigration officers. They then entered the house.

The men, including one who pulled out a pair of handcuffs, ordered Dula and his friends to queue up outside the house.

They then asked the Bangladeshis to hand over their passports and searched their rooms before grabbing their cellphones and cash worth about RM7,000.

The robbers said an Immigration van would arrive shortly and asked them to wait, but four of the five suspects got into a car and fled.

Dula tried to chase them on his motorcycle but to no avail. His roommates, however, caught Ravi.

In pleading for leniency yesterday, counsel M. Lethumanan said Ravi was a first-time offender. He said the accused had a family to support and that he got involved in the crime because of pressure from his friends.

DPP Fahmi Abd Moin asked the court to impose a deterrent sentence on Ravi saying that the offence was serious.

“Please consider that the accused had impersonated an Immigration officer to gang rob foreigners who are working in our country,” he said.

Sessions Court judge Akhtar Tahir jailed Ravi 10 years and ordered for him to be whipped twice for each of his seven gang-robbery charges. He ordered the jail sentences to run concurrently.

Akhtar jailed Ravi a year for impersonation and ordered this sentence to run consecutively after he completed his first jail term (10 years).

1995-2005 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

Corpun file 15248


The Sunday Star, Kuala Lumpur, 13 February 2005

Convicts ready for a fresh start


Being in prison has changed the perspectives of two men who used to enjoy the high life before the law caught up with them. Once released, they face the stigma of being ex-convicts, but they hope they can rebuild their lives, writes YIP YOKE TENG.

NATHAN, 31, had never been perturbed by anything, until he saw his mother cry.

“She's the only woman who cries for me. I changed because of her,” said Nathan who was sentenced to seven years’ jail (subsequently reduced to four years and nine months) and 10 strokes of the rotan for drug peddling. He got a lighter punishment for pleading guilty.

His mother cries every time she comes to visit, he said during an interview at the Drug Rehabilitation and Treatment Division of Kajang Prison.

“That's the most hurtful thing I have to endure during my days in prison. I thought it would only last for a couple of months but it's been four years now and she still cries when she sees me.”

Before he was put behind bars, Nathan, from Cheras, was on the top of the world, earning as much as RM2,500 a day.

“I thought money was God,” he said.

“No one forced me to push drugs. I did it because I was greedy and selfish. I could earn money so easily. I was disgustingly arrogant, rude to everyone, and shouting at everyone, especially my family. With the money, I could just shut their mouths up,” he related in fluent English.

He said his parents cared for him very well, giving him a proper education and adequate pocket money although they were not wealthy. But they couldn't really communicate with him and gave him too much freedom because they trusted him.

“Once in a while I'd think of my family, but that was just a flash across my mind and I'd soon be blinded again by money. I didn't bother about the police, I thought I was smart enough to get away,” he said.

But everything changed when he was arrested. When the police came for him, his mother and two sisters cried and his father refused to talk to him.

Now sharing a cell with 14 other inmates, Nathan said his life in prison was bitter.

“I feel so left out. I have lost my freedom. I have lost all the luxury I used to indulge in.”

He also has to work hard in the prison workshop every day.

He admitted that he has cried a number of times since his incarceration. The first time was when his mother first came to visit.

“She was sobbing and I couldn't reach out to comfort her because there was a thick, grilled window between us,” he recalled.

The second time he cried was around Christmas when, in his cell, he thought of the feast his mother would whip up for the family at home. “There were numerous times when I sobbed silently in bed,” he added.

The caning also left an indelible effect on him both physically and mentally.

“I'll never forget the day – May 16, 2002. I was told about it three days before because that was a public holiday. I couldn't eat or sleep and I was trembling all day long.”

The caning took 20 minutes, but after that, he had to lie prone in bed for the next six days.

“I couldn't move, have a bath or even sleep. My bottom turned blue black and was so badly swollen. The scars are still visible now,” he recounted.

“Thankfully, I was fasting during the period as I'd just accepted God, the real one, into my life. I fasted for 40 days, praying that I wouldn't scream or faint during and after the caning. My prayers were answered. Many prisoners fainted right after their caning. It was too painful to bear.”

In prison, said Nathan, he has learnt to distinguish right from wrong, and how to trust, respect and show appreciation with guidance from prison officers and advice shared by his fellow inmates during the Therapeutic Community Rehabilitation Programme.

“They show me tough love. They care for me but are strict at the same time. They are my true friends.”

Thinking of the past, he said: “I used to have many friends but they taught me bad things.”

Nathan said he missed his mother most.

“Money means nothing to me anymore,” he said.


1995-2005 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

Corpun file 15247


The Sunday Star, Kuala Lumpur, 20 February 2005

The hand that wields the cane

Malaysia is one of 17 countries worldwide where caning is mandatory for certain offences. YIP YOKE TENG reports on how the sentence is carried out in Kajang Prison.

FOR carrying out his duty as a caning officer at the Kajang Prison, Ahmad* has, on numerous occasions, been slapped with hurtful criticisms and comments.

He has even had a curse that his children become crippled hurled at him.

But Ahmad, 48, said he was not bothered by the attacks against him. “I am just doing my job,” he said.

Standing at 1.8m tall and sporting a thick moustache, he has piercing eyes but is soft-spoken. He is one of seven caning officers at the prison where he has worked for 13 years. He has been a caning officer for eight years.

Caning is such a horrifying experience that many of those who have been through it describe it with the expression: “If a buffalo were not on a leash, it would climb up the tree!”

Even when they are certified as medically fit, many prisoners will faint right after the caning. As blood and flesh may splash from the prisoner's body while he is being caned, officers have to wear a special suit that covers them fully when they administer the sentence on those who are HIV+.

Prisoners will only be informed of it the day before it is to be done on them. Only one prisoner is caned at a time. With his hands, waist and feet tied to a tripod, the prisoner is caned in the presence of the prison director, record officer and doctor. The lashes are delivered in 10 to 15 second intervals to allow the caning officer to regain his strength.

The recuperation period is an ordeal as well, as the body will take some months to recover from the wounds and extreme strain it has had to endure.

“The entire bottom turns blue black in one or two days,” said Ahmad. “It is so badly swollen that it's double its original size.”

“After the canning [sic], the prisoners can do nothing but lie prone in bed for at least one week. He cannot even sleep,” Ahmad added.

“The wounds will crack if they squat, much less sit. Even six months later, they won't be able to sit on a hard surface. The scars will remain as long as they live.”

Rape, drug and firearm offences carry the mandatory caning sentence. The cane used in such cases measures 1.25cm in diameter.

Illegal immigrants get between one and four strokes; and juveniles, CBT and Syariah law offenders are lashed with smaller canes.

The maximum number of strokes given under one warrant is 24, but if a prisoner is charged under several warrants, he has to serve the combined number of strokes. He can take at the most 24 strokes each time. When the wounds are healed, he has to endure the painful experience all over again.

“Most of those handed the caning sentence are rapists,” said Ahmad.

Worldwide, there are only 17 countries that implement the caning sentence. Malaysia and Singapore are the only countries in South-East Asia doing this. [This is incorrect -- Malaysia's neighbour Brunei also has judicial caning. - C.F.]

To ensure that the task is performed correctly, the Prisons Department is especially stringent in selecting and training caning officers.

The process is a long and difficult affair, starting with the selection of the right candidates. They must be of the right size physically, be disciplined and have self-confidence, are committed and able to perform the task, and articulate.

Selected officers then have to undergo medical check-ups and those with high blood pressure and heart problem will be disqualified.

Next, they will sit for their basic training, which goes on for one month and covers the law concerning caning, breathing techniques and agility.

At the end of the training, they will be examined on the strength, precision, consistency and movement of their strokes. They will also be assessed on discipline, attitude and team spirit. Out of 30 candidates, only two may be selected.

Short-listed officers from all over the country, and sometimes Brunei, will meet for a week-long central training session that exposes them to more of the related aspects of their job. Those who qualify after this session will be given certificates.

“It's a challenging task,” Ahmad said. “Not everyone can do it as no mistakes, however slight, are allowed. We have to hit precisely on a small area.”

The rigid training not only made him physically capable for the task, but emotionally, too, he said.

“I can't have any feelings like sympathy, fear, sadness or even anger when caning someone because it will affect my performance. If I do, I'll be disqualified.”

The officers have to practise at least once a week on a dummy when there's no sentence to be carried out. At the overcrowded Kajang Prison, however, Ahmad and his colleagues need to do it every Wednesday and Friday. His personal record is 178 strokes in one day.

On other days, he performs his duty as a normal prison officer but he seldom mixes with the prisoners to avoid emotional attachment.

His children aged between 18 months and nine years are proud of their father. They respect him, he said, even though he has never once held the rotan against them.

“I only lecture them with the Quran if they do something wrong,” Ahmad said.

Interestingly, none of the prisoners whom he had caned bore a grudge against him and some even became his friends after told [sic] that it was what they deserved,” Ahmad said.

“Some of them were thankful that the pain had awakened them.”

*Ahmad is a pseudonym.

1995-2005 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

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