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Corruption pervades all levels of society, from low-level civil servants accepting petty bribes to national leaders stealing billions of ringgit.
Recently, a civil servant from the Malaysian Marine Department (JLM) in the Southern Region was charged in the Johor Bahru Sessions Court with two counts of fraudulent claims.
The accused, Hazreen Mohd, 40, made false claims for overtime and travel expenses totaling RM670.51 two years ago.
He pleaded not guilty after the charges against him were read before Judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Arifin Ismail.
According to the first charge, Hazreen, in his position as Sea Assistant Grade A22, defrauded his employer with a document claiming overpayment for April 2020 amounting to RM359.41.
For the second accusation, the father of the three children submitted a travel request for April 2020 in the amount of 311.10 RON.
It is alleged that the claim was for performing official duties at the lighthouses between 2 April 2020 and 30 April 2020.
Harian Metro reported that the accused was accused of claiming overtime and travel expenses for Segenting Hills, the Batu Pahat lighthouse watch task force.
Duties include monitoring, cleaning and security control.
However, the accused failed to perform his duties thereby misleading his employer.
The accused allegedly committed the crime at the Batu Pahat Maritime Office in May 2020.
He is charged under Section 18 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (SPRM) and punishable under Section 24(2) of the same Act.
The accused faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of five times the amount incurred or 10,000 lei, whichever is higher if convicted.
SPRM prosecutor Ikhwan Ihsan Jalaluddin said an offense under the section is not bailable.
He asked that the bail be set at 10,000 lei if the court wants to allow it.
Convincing the judge to lower the bail
The accused, who was unrepresented, requested the court to reduce the bail amount as he received only half his salary and was suspended from duty from today.
In addition to taking care of his wife, who does not work, he also has to support two children who are still in school and a younger child.
And my father just passed away last May, and now I’m carrying the burden of debt, plus I’m still living with my mother because of emotional turmoil,” he said, after serving nine years in the post.
Hazreen Mohd pleading for lighter sentences.
The judge then set bail at 5,000 lei with a single surety and ordered that his passport be presented to the court until the trial ends.
The court fixed the case on September 29 for the submission of documents and the appointment of lawyers.
Meanwhile, netizens described the crime as a dishonest, deplorable and serious breach of trust.
But what struck them is that juvenile criminals are swiftly punished, while high-ranking civil servants and politicians continue to walk free, despite stealing much more.
READ MORE: Headmistress accused of embezzling RM900 to hand in her passport after a trip abroad
Stealing is wrong, but Najib is stealing millions, he has already been found guilty and has yet to go to jail. Even worse, there can be many supporters, free to go here and there, it really is a wall. https://t.co/m3yDBEnVJe
– Mr. Chak Safwan Idrus (@AhmadWawan) July 20, 2022
At the same time, netizens argued that the Marine Department could have just dismissed the claims and taken internal disciplinary action.
They thought it too heavy for the accused to be taken to court, especially for a small amount.
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