Farmer fined RM50,000 for bribing govt official

KUANTAN, Feb 18 — A farmer was fined RM50,000 by the Sessions Court here today after he pleaded guilty to a charge of bribing a government official when he was found encroaching into a forest reserve in Cameron Highlands, four years ago.

Judge Mohd Ghazali Mohamad Taib also ordered Teong Tong Lai, 34, to be jailed three months if he failed to pay the fine.

Teong charged with giving a bribe of RM10,000 to the assistant deputy director of the National Operations Management Centre, National Security Council (NSC) Sanifah Yusof at 9.32pm, on May 13, 2015  at the Coffee House of Hotel Heritage, Cameron Highlands.

The money, comprising 200 pieces of RM50, is said to have been an inducement to refrain from taking action against Teong’s farm in the Terla (A) Forest Reserve in Mukim Ulu Telum, Cameron Highlands, which breached the Forestry Act 1984.

For the offence, Teong was charged under Section 214 of the Penal Code (Act 574) which provides for a jail term or a fine, or both, upon conviction.

Based on the facts of the case, the accused illegal farm was uncovered when ‘Ops Gading’ was carried out and the accused offered the money so that his farm was not demolished.

Deputy public prosecutor from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Siti Sarah Zainal Abiddin prosecuted while lawyer Mohamad Hamizey Mat Taib represented Teong.

“During the incident, the accused was working with his father, who was running a vegetable growing company since 1985. After he was arrested, the company closed down and currently the accused was planting vegetables by leasing private land.

“For the court’s information, the accused has applied for a permit for the land involved and on June 2015, a month after he was arrested, he was informed the application was still under consideration by the Forest Department,” Mohamad Hamizey said.

He said Teong who had promised not repeat the offence and had fully cooperated with MACC during the investigation had also settled the fine. — Bernama

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