The greater the crime, the greater the sentence should be
By Aliran, on 27 February 2012
On 23 December 2011, former Selangor Menteri Besar Khir Toyo was sentenced to 12 months jail and forfeiture of his land and bungalow for “knowingly purchasing” these properties that costs about RM6.5m for less than the price of its original value. The sentence was suspended pending appeal (The Star Online, 23 December 2011, “Khir Toyo gets 1 year jail for graft”).
On 5 January 2012, a small report appeared in a side column of theSun news daily that three RapidKL bus drivers were each charged with theft of RM150 of “Touch n’ Go” reloads in August 2011. All three claimed trial i.e. pleaded not guilty. If convicted they could face a maximum of seven years in jail (theSun, 5 January 2012, “Bus drivers claim trial to T’NG reload theft”).
On 4 January 2012, BBC News website reported that a 15-year-old youth was sentenced to five years imprisonment for stealing a pair of sandals (slippers) in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Due to his being a minor, the court sent him home to his parents, instead of imposing the jail sentence (BBC News Asia, 4 January 2012, “Indonesia outrage at boy’s conviction for sandal theft”).
Looking at these three cases side by side, one wonders if justice is truly served. The millionaire ex-MB gets away with a light ‘smack’ on the hand for cheating Ditamas of RM3m. Execution of the sentence, however, has been held back by the legal process. Some have expressed doubt that he will be languishing in prison for 12 months, either by winning his appeal or by being allowed out on parole in a few months for ‘good behaviour’. Embezzlers and cheats are not usually violent criminals but ‘white collar criminals’.
Where is the outrage?