Alleged illegal Cameron Highlands landowners charged with graft

HIDIR REDUAN


KUANTAN: The owners of allegedly illegal plantations in Cameron Highlands today claimed trial to charges of offering bribes to authorities to turn a blind eye to their activities.

Law Hee Thiam and Chan Kok Fong were calm when they pleaded ‘not guilty’ to charges read to them in Mandarin by an interpreter at the sessions court here today.

Law, 37, and Chan, 40, are alleged to have offered bribes so that National Security Council officer Sanifah Yusof would not take action against them over their purported unlicensed smallholdings.

According to one charge against him, Law is alleged to have offered RM15,000 in cash to Sanifah, 39, over his plantation at Gunung Siku Forest Reserve, Cameron Highlands.

According to two charges against him, Chan is alleged to have offered RM23,000 in cash kickback to Sanisah in relation to his plantation at Ringlet Forest Reserve, Cameron Highlands.

A third charge against Chan accused him of offering to pay her RM1,000 in monthly bribe payments.

Law and Chan committed the alleged acts at the coffee shop of a hotel at Jalan Gereja, Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, between April 8 and May 19, 2015.

If convicted under Section 17(b) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, the duo may be jailed for up to 20 years, and fined five times the money involved, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

Judge Datuk Habibah Mohamed Yusof granted bail of RM5,000 and RM10,000, each with one surety, to Law and Chan respectively.

She also fixed May 3 for mention for both cases.

MACC deputy public prosecutor Amer Abu Bakar Abdullah prosecuted, while counsel Simon Evanson represented Chan. Law was unrepresented.