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Judicial CP - March 1998

Corpun file 13457

BBC News Online, London, 5 March 1998

World: Asia-Pacific

Malaysian police advocate caning

Police in Malaysia are recommending to the government the use of caning as one of a range of tough new measures to deal with the growing influx of illegal immigrants.

The police propose that illegal immigrants who are caught be given three lashes of the cane, with five lashes for agents who helped bring them into the country.

Some other measures under consideration are longer jail terms, heavier fines, and the confiscation of property belonging to agents.

The BBC South East Asia correspondent says that although Malaysian ministers are loath to cause tension with Indonesia on the immigration issue, they may well look favourably on the plan given their own economic crisis.

Police say the number of would-be immigrants is increasing every day: almost 4,000 were detained within a two-week period in February, and many others are thought to have arrived undetected.

The deteriorating economic situation in Indonesia has unleashed a flood of economic migrants in search of work in neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore.

Many cross by boat from the island of Sumatra, heading across the narrow Strait of Malacca towards the Malaysian peninsular.

The security forces there have responded with constant land and sea patrols along 2,000km of coastline.

Earlier this week, the prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, said that although Malaysia could not accept illegal immigrants, the issue should not affect the regional spirit of friendship and solidarity.

The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 10 March 1998

Federal Court spares duo the gallows

IPOH: Two men escaped the gallows yesterday after the Federal Court overturned the Court of Appeal's decision three years ago to impose the mandatory death sentence against them for drug trafficking.

The court also reduced the charge from trafficking under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act, which provides for a mandatory death sentence, to possession under Section 39A which provides for a maximum jail term of 20 years and whipping.

Azman Hazeri, 41, and Kamaruzaman Mohd Yusoff, 30, were ordered to serve seven years' jail and be given 10 strokes of the rotan each.

The court ordered the duo to be given 10 strokes within one month as both had served five years and nine months in jail since their arrest on June 19, 1992.

The Federal Court sitting was presided over by Chief Justice Tun Mohamed Eusoff Chin, who sat with Chief Judge of Malaya Wan Adnan Ismail and Federal Court Judge Edgar Joseph Jr.

The two were jointly charged with three others for trafficking in 228gm of cannabis at a house at 2, Laluan Kim Mee, Taman Kim Mee, on June 19, 1992, at 6pm. The other three were acquitted and discharged.

In mitigation, defence counsel Jula Singh and Gurbachan Singh who represented Azman and Kamaruzaman respectively said the prosecution had failed to cross examine the chemist who presented his report as requested by the defence when the appeal came up in the Court of Appeal.

On Feb 27, 1995, the Court of Appeal sentenced both the accused to death after the prosecution appealed against a High Court judge's decision to sentence them to seven years' jail and 10 strokes of the rotan effective from the date of arrest.

The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 24 March 1998

Stiff sentence

Tekongs pay heavy price for bringing in illegal immigrants

By A. Letchumanan and Maizatul Nazlina

MALACCA: The courts are coming down hard on tekongs (boat skippers) convicted of bringing in illegal immigrants, sentencing eight of them yesterday to a total of 296 months' jail, RM320,000 in fines and 42 strokes of the rotan.

Two Indonesians -- Sufian Mohamad and Pie Tambi -- who pleaded guilty in a magistrate's court here were each jailed for 40 months and ordered to be given six strokes of the rotan.

Magistrate Abu Bakar Manat also imposed on each of them a RM10,000 fine which they failed to pay; they have to serve another six months' jail in default.

Sufian and Pie, both 24, pleaded guilty to bringing in seven Indonesian illegal immigrants at Kuala Linggi on March 13.

Before passing sentence, Abu Bakar said the court agreed with the prosecution that bringing in illegals was a serious offence and a threat to national security.

"This is also the reason that amendments to the Immigration Act were made to have more stiffer penalties," he said.

Earlier, prosecuting officer Chief Insp Ahmad Kamal Abas urged the court to impose a deterrent sentence on those who intend to bring illegal immigrants into the country.

In Johor Baru, a magistrate's court jailed six tekongs to three years jail each, fined RM50,000 and ordered to be given five strokes of the rotan after they pleaded guilty to harboring 47 Indonesians.

Malaysian Tamam Jaya, 47, and Indonesians Aziz Tamam, 24, Herman Latif, 30, Osman Ukas, 30, Abdul Rahman Mohd, 30, and Mohd Dom Ramli, 23, admitted committing the offence in Masai on March 11.

They couldn't pay the fine, and will serve three years' jail each in default.

The eight tekongs, who were charged under Section 55 of the Immigration Act 1997, were given almost the maximum punishment by the courts.

Under the section, the maximum penalty is a fine of not more than RM50,000, five years' jail and up to six strokes of the rotan.

The stiff sentences follow stepped-up moves by the authorities to catch illegal immigrants and to deter others from entering the country.

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