KUALA LUMPUR: Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman was today sentenced to seven years of imprisonment, a RM10mil fine and two strokes of the cane after he was found guilty on all the four charges he was facing including criminal breach of trust (CBT), misappropriation of funds, and money laundering.
High Court judge Justice Azhar Abdul Hamid decided to hand the sentence today (Nov 9) after Syed Saddiq’s defence failed to raise any reasonable doubt, local media reported.
According to the Star, the High Court here has allowed Muar MP Syed Saddiq’s application to stay the execution of his sentence while pending appeal.
Syed Saddiq, 30, will become the first Member of Parliament to be whipped for CBT offences.
The President of Parti Ikatan Demokratik Malaysia (Muda) besides being sentenced to be whipped has also to serve seven years imprisonment and fine amounting to RM10 million.
Based on Section 289 (c) Criminal Procedure Code 2007, female and male offender who is sentenced to death or offender aged more than 50 years cannot be whipped. It is stipulated that whipping is mandatory for offences involving criminal breach of trust (CBT) and misappropriation of assets.
At the press conference later, Syed Saddiq said he accepts the court’s decision and will continue to fight to clean his name in the Court of Appeal.
“As a legislator, I am confident with the judicial system of the country. As a politician I need to be more white than just white,” he said.
Earlier the High Court Judge, Azhar Abdul Hamid sentenced the Muda president to three years in prison and to be whipped once for the CBT charge.
The judge further sentenced Syed Saddiq to another two years jail and one stroke of the rotan for embezzlement of assets that belonged to the youth wing, ARMADA of Bersatu.
Both these sentences are to run consecutively, meaning he will serve five years.
Azhar also imposed a jail term of two years each for the two counts of money laundering, and a fine of RM5 million each.
However, he ordered these two sentences to run concurrently.
The judge allowed an application by the defence to stay the jail, fine and whipping sentences pending an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
He also ordered that all bail conditions be retained pending the appeal, including the sum of RM300, 000 posted by Syed Saddiq when charged initially.
Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin pressed for a deterrent sentence, saying white collar crimes such as CBT are now rampant among politicians.
“A clear message must be sent to other politicians before they think of committing such crimes,” he said, adding that the court should put public interest first rather than that of the accused.
Wan Shaharuddin said Syed Saddiq had also betrayed the trust placed in him by the people who voted him to public office.
He said the crimes were not carried out at the spur of the moment but were premeditated.
He proposed that the jail terms imposed in respect of the four offences run consecutively, and for Syed Saddiq to be imposed with a hefty fine. He also asked the court to order that Syed Saddiq be whipped.
Lawyer Haijan Omar requested that the court only impose a jail term or a minimum fine.
Meanwhile as reported by FMT, Lawyer Rafique Rashid Ali said that despite the conviction, Syed Saddiq will remain the Muar MP until his right of appeal is exhausted.
He said Article 48(4)(b) of the Federal Constitution states that the disqualification from being an MP only takes effect when a final decision is made by the highest court which, in this case, would be the Federal Court.
“Therefore, he can still attend Dewan Rakyat sessions, debate and vote in any motions and others,” he said when explaining that Syed Saddiq could still carry out his duties as an MP.
Syed Saddiq has also resigned as the president of MUDA.