Sardine thief 10 years, Khir Toyo only one year?

Waytha: Sardine thief 10 years, Khir Toyo a year

KUALA LUMPUR; A human rights advocate and senior lawyer in private practice hopes that justice will be served, keeping public interest and public concerns in mind, when former Selangor Menteri Besar Mohd Khir Toyo is sentenced by the Federal Court soon on corruption charges involving two plots of land and a bungalow that cost millions.

“The High Court, and upheld by the Court of Appeal, sentenced Khir Toyo to only one year in jail besides ordering that the lands and bungalow be forfeited by the Selangor Government.”

In contrast, said P. Waythamoorthy who is also Hindraf Makkal Sakthi Chairman, an unemployed 22-year-old youth who stole some rice and sardines from a grocery shop was sentenced to 10 years in jail. “He ended up dead in prison within a year and all indications are that he was probably murdered there.”

“Shashikumar a/l Selvam’s body lies in the mortuary 120 days later, uncollected because there has been no post-mortem report so far as ordered by the Magistrate’s Court in Johor Baru and no death certificate. The Magistrate’s Court needs both documents to convene a Coroner’s Court and conduct an Inquest as per Practice Directions of the Federal Court.”

Waytha, who was until last year a Senator and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, contrasts the tragic fate of Shashikumar with the “rap on the wrists” kid glove treatment that Khir Toyo received from the Court and recalled the line from Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist: “The law is an ass.”

“The value here is Khir Toyo’s RM2 million in corruption money as opposed to Shashikumar’s RM70 worth of rice and sardines i.e. a few tins and a 10kg bag.”

“The poor petty thief gets 10 years and the rich and powerful gets 12 months?” asked Waytha. The Judiciary plays the “game of public interest” when sentencing the poor apparently to send the right signals to the criminals, he pointed out. “Would the Judiciary do the same in sentencing Khir Toyo and send the right signals to those in power that corruption would not be condoned?”

“I guess the socio-political forces in the country still prefer someone like Khir Toyo for his betrayal of public interest rather than Shashikumar, a common thief, for survival.”

Waytha said that Khir Toyo, to escape jail, has offered to provide free dental service to the community instead. “His lawyer had the audacity to say this in open court. Khir claims to be a heart patient and that his family has endured enough embarrassment for the past five years and hence he thinks he should not go to jail.”

A sardine and rice thief was sentenced to 10 years in prison at such a tender age and after one year, this youth was believed to have been murdered in prison, reminded Waytha. “Khir Toyo held the highest office in the state of Selangor and there was an immense element of trust placed upon him by the public.”

“He betrayed the trust and abused his power for self enrichment at the expense of the public.”

What should be the punishment for that in comparison with a poor youth from the underclass segment of the community who stole out of a necessity as compared to the greed of a Menteri Besar? asked the senior lawyer. “Shouldn’t the court impose a heavier sentence on him instead of giving him a slap on the wrist with 12 months or less?”

Waytha: Sardine thief 10 years, Khir Toyo a year
September 24, 2015 – FMT


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