Sergeant pleads not guilty to 3 counts of bribery

ARNAZ M. KHAIRUL

MALACCA: The future of a family of six hangs in the balance as its second pillar stood accused of three counts of bribery at the Malacca Sessions Court this morning.

Sergeant Rasyidah Onn, 27, a policewoman who was in the 18th month of her posting at the Alor Gajah police headquarters, served as an investigating officer at the narcotics department, before she was caught and arrested on March 16.

She was charged today with three counts of accepting bribes totalling RM18,500 from Ahmad Firdaose Ramlan, in exchange for dropping charges against his younger brother Ahmad Zainal and three others, who were caught in possession of ketum liquid, which is an offence under Section 30(3) of the Poisons Act 1952.

The first charge under Section 17(a) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 was for an offence committed via telephone at 11.13am on March 16, at the MACC Malacca headquarters in Taman Alai Perdana, where Rasyidah allegedly had agreed to receive RM6,500 from Ahmad Firdaose.

For the second charge, Rasyidah was said to have agreed to accept RM6,000 for herself from Ahmad Firdaose via telephone at 2.27pm at the same location, while the third charge was for the said officer to have accepted RM6,000 as a bribe at a Pizza Hut outlet at the Jelatang Commercial Complex at 4.35pm the same day.

Each charge carries a jail sentence of not more than 20 years, along with a fine of up to five times the total bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher in value, under Section 24(1) of the MACC Act 2009.

Decked in a black hoodie with black and white stripes and black jeans as she stood in the dock, Rasyidah pleaded not guilty to all three charges read before judge Meor Sulaiman Ahmad Tarmizi.

In pleading for a reduction to RM8,000 after MACC prosecutor Ong Cheng Hian proposed a bail of RM15,000 for all three charges, Rasyidah’s defence counsel James Thanjong Tuan raised the matter of Rasyidah’s family being financially crippled as a result of the case.

James raised the matter that Rasyidah and her 30-year old elder sister were the breadwinners for the family, while their two younger siblings were in college.

Both parents, James recounted were not in the best of health. Their 57-year old unemployed father is suffering from a stage 3 cancer and their mother, 56, has thyroid and high blood pressure, thus the medical costs and sustenance had to be borne by the two sisters.

Following James’ argument, Meor Sulaiman looked towards Rasyidah in the dock and asked her where she was living and with whom, to which she simply answered: “At the IPD (district police headquarters) Alor Gajah and with a younger sibling.”

The judge then asked Rasyidah if she was suspended from work or if her income was affected, to which she said ‘no’.

Meor Sulaiman set bail at RM9,000 for all three charges and April 27 for mention.

A middle-aged woman, who simply said she was a relative, was present in court and posted bail for Rafidah.