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Judicial CP - December 1999

Corpun file 04781

The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 15 December 1999

Jail and cane for 'fork-and-knife' robber

MALACCA: A Sessions Court here sentenced a construction worker to five years' jail and 15 lashes for stabbing a clerk in the cheek with a fork during a robbery in Taman Melaka Raya.

Sessions Judge Rajendran Nayagam handed down the sentence yesterday after Cheong Yong Peng, 21, pleaded guilty to causing grievous hurt to Low Pooi Sia, also 21.

Low, a construction company clerk, was rushed to the Malacca Hospital with the fork embedded in her cheek in the attack that occurred on Nov 10.

She had to undergo several hours of surgery to have the fork removed.

Prosecuting officer Asst Supt Gemon Ishak told the court earlier that Cheong was armed with a knife and a fork in the 10am robbery.

Cheong, who was charged under Section 394 of the Penal Code, took RM600 and a gold chain worth RM400 from Low during the robbery.

Under Section 394, Cheong can be jailed up to 20 years or face fine and whipping.

Cheong's counsel Wong Nai Chee pleaded for leniency because the accused was young and had no previous conviction.

Wong told the court that Cheong, who had surrendered to police on the day of the crime, was from a poor family.

Before passing the judgment Judge Rajendran said the sentence was to deter others from committing similar offences.

Copyright 1999. Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd.
All rights reserved.

Corpun file 04809

The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 23 December 1999

Jailed for severing wife's arm

IPOH: A 36-year-old factory operator was sentenced to nine years' jail and ordered to be given six strokes of the rotan for chopping off his wife's left arm with a parang.

In passing sentence, Sessions Court judge Abdul Aziz Khalidin said the sentence meted was to translate the seriousness of the offence committed by M. Balakrishnan.

"The accused had committed a serious offence and the court shall impose the appropriate punishment," he said, adding that it was also to serve as a deterrent to others as the case was of public interest.

DETERRENT SENTENCE...Balakhrishnan being led out of the courthouse by a policeman yesterday after he was ordered to be jailed nine years.

Abdul Aziz also said that Balakrishnan failed to prove that he committed the offence in self-defence as he had claimed.

Balakrishnan was found guilty of intentionally causing grievous hurt to his wife M. Suthah, 29, by chopping off her hand on Feb 16, 1994, at 51, Selasar Grove, Ipoh Grove here.

The offence under Section 326 of the Penal Code carries a maximum jail sentence of 20 years and/or fine and whipping.

However, Balakrishnan was allowed a stay of execution pending appeal but had his bail increased from RM5,000 to RM10,000.

In asking for a deterrent sentence, Deputy Public Prosecutor Abd Rahim Mohd Noor said the incident had caused the victim to suffer physically and mentally.

He said although the doctor had re-attached Suthah's left arm, the hand could no longer function.

He also said the accused had acted in an inhumane and cruel manner towards his wife.

In mitigation, counsel Gurbachan Singh said the court should take into consideration that Balakrishnan has requested him to tender his apology to his wife and her family.

"Balakrishnan has expressed his regret, repentance and remorse over the incident which happened in the spur of the moment," he said.

Balakrishnan married Suthah, a telephone operator, in 1992 but got divorced after the incident, added Gurbachan.

In earlier proceedings, Balakrishnan had testified that he committed the offence in self-defence.

He had said that he seized the parang upon seeing the weapon in his wife's hand when he came back from work on the day of the incident.

He had added that he cut his wife's left arm with the parang continuously until it was severed and had later lodged a police report.

Copyright 1999. Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd.
All rights reserved.

Corpun file 04835

The Star, Kuala Lumpur, 30 December 1999


Vices that strangle

As the millennium draws to a close, UMA RUDD digs into the files to track social ills through the decades and finds some scary info.


WE'RE on the brink of a new millennium with wonderful, exciting times set to bloom for the youth of today in the near future. But in every blossoming garden, weeds grow alongside the flowers. Sprouting in the form of social ills, these weeds can strangle youth and indirectly stunt a country's growth.

Looking through newspaper files, it's frightening tracking how, since this country gained independence in 1957, social ills have developed from irritating habits into vices that injure and kill. And it's glaringly obvious that the most affected groups have been and still are teenagers and young adults -- those in the most impressionable age groups.

While young people have always -- from time immemorial! -- managed to find trouble to get themselves into, society as a whole only started worrying about community-wide problems in the 60s. The turbulence of that decade in the West, when social norms and barriers fell willy nilly, touched Malaysia too. Young men and teens, out to prove they were as macho and cool as the next guy, smoked not only cigarettes but also drugs such as ganja; those after a more serious "high" took the fashionable drug of choice then: LSD (aka acid, from its chemical name, lysergic acid diethylamide). This was especially common among the urban crowd that had the means to get these drugs.


The government has also been taking legislative measures to deal with social ills. In Oct this year, the 1999 Child Bill was announced; the intention is to set up a children's court with the jurisdiction to try all child offenders except those punishable by death. This bill, which was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Oct 19, will replace the Juvenile Courts Act 1947 and Child Protection Act 1991. The bill empowers the Children's Court to order a child whipped more than 10 strokes with a light cane upon proof of committing certain offences; the canning [sic] would only apply to boys. It was also proposed that those under 14 should not be imprisoned for any offence.

The IT age brings with it new problems: it's a wonderful World Wide Web out there, but it's also full of pitfalls awaiting the unwary young person, ranging from purveyors of pornography and hate to influences that are far more deadly than Hollywood's offerings. The government, religious bodies, NGOs, parents, they all have been trying hard to protect vulnerable youth from social ills -- but how do you protect someone from the enormity that is the Internet? Perhaps by ensuring that Malaysia's young people can think for themselves and make the right decisions on their own?

Copyright 1999. Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd.
All rights reserved.

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