Two Kuching restaurateurs fined RM10,000 for offering bribe

Goh Pei Pei

PETRA JAYA: The Kuching Special Court for Corruption here today sentenced a restaurant operator to a RM10,000 fine, in default of two months’ jail, for offering a bribe to an enforcement officer two years ago.

Judge Nixon Kennedy Kumbong also sentenced Abdul Nasar Abdul Kassim to nine days’ jail after he changed his plea to ‘guilty’ to committing the offense.

Nasar, 52, from Sungai Buloh, Selangor, had previously pleaded ‘not guilty’ when he was jointly-charged with another restaurant operator, Balaji Ramachandran, 38, in Court on Mar 6.

Nasar and Balaji, who is an Indian national, were accused of offering a RM500 bribe to Immigration officer Azmee Amin, at a restaurant at KLND, at the 7th mile near here, at 12.10pm on Nov 12, 2015.

According to the charge sheet, the bribe was an inducement for Azmee to not take action against a worker at Balaji's curry house restaurant, who had abused his temporary employment visit permit.

Both of the accused claimed trial to the charge, which was made under Section 17(b) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009.

The Act carries the maximum 20 years' imprisonment and a fine of up to five times the amount of the bribe, or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

Earlier during today's proceeding, Nasar appealed for leniency on the grounds that his restaurant is not generating a stable income and that he has two children who are studying at private colleges.

He also said he has to drive his wife, a teacher, to work every day, since she does not have a driving license.

Nixon said the nine days’ jail sentence includes the seven-day remand order observed previously by Nasar.

MACC prosecuting officer Ikhwan Mohd Ibrahim prosecuted, while Nasar was unrepresented.

The hearing for Balaji's case has been fixed for four days beginning Apr 10.