Earlier this week, Datuk Seri Syed Afendy Ali Syed Abid Ali, the former Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Executive Director (Project Management), was sentenced to eight months in jail for eight charges of using his position to secure eight condominium units
The former DBKL officer was also slapped with an RM80,000 fine by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court after he was found guilty on the eight counts of abuse of power in the acquisition of the eight condo units, totalling almost RM2 million.
According to NST Online, the sentence was given after Judge Allaudeen Ismail ruled that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubt in the case.
The then DBKL Economic Planning and Development Coordination Department (JPEPP) Director was charged with abusing his power between 6 September 2013 and 16 October 2014 under Section 165 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum jail term of two years or fine or both, upon conviction.
He had acquired eight condominium units, worth RM249,990 each, in Bandar Sri Permaisuri, Bandar Tun Razak, theSundaily reported.
While ordering the jail term to run concurrently, the Sessions Court judge, however, allowed an appeal by Syed Afendy's lawyer to delay the punishment until an appeal has been filed in the High Court
As a result, the court retained the RM1 million bail with one surety and ordered Syed Afendy to hand over his passport until the appeal process is completed.
Meanwhile, Syed Afendy was acquitted and freed of nine counts under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, involving RM1.5 million along with a charge of using his position to secure a three-storey shop lot worth RM930,000.
In mitigation, while MACC's Deputy Public Prosecutor urged the court to mete out a suitable sentence as the accused had abused his position for personal gain, Syed Afendy had appealed for a lighter sentence, saying his life was in shambles since his arrest
"I've lost everything. Today, you can see for yourself that I'm in court only with my wife and child. I lost my friends. With my poor health (heart problems), I've lost 20 kilogrammes throughout the duration of this case. I ask for me not to be sent to jail. Even if I was to be fined, I have debts all around," he said, according to NST Online.
The judgement, however, is being questioned by DAP lawmakers
According to them, the jail term is "not sufficient". One of the DAP lawmakers also said that the sentence also sends a "wrong impression" for other government officials.
"We have a problem with the judiciary, as they have sentenced him (Afendy) to only 8 months of jail and an RM80,000 fine, from a case that involves the purchase of eight condominium units worth about RM2 million. This (sentence) is not sufficient.
"It also sends a wrong message to the directors of other government agencies that if they commit an offence, they will only get a few months in prison, and after the sentencing, they will get to keep all the property and money. This is very wrong," Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) was quoted as saying by theSundaily.
Lim's sentiments were echoed by another DAP lawmaker, Fung Kui Lun, who said that the court should have meted out a heavier penalty.
"Because this case involves DBKL, the government should have imposed a heavier penalty, because this is a very bad example for people in high positions," the DAP lawmaker from Bukit Bintang was quoted as saying.
The DAP lawmakers have also questioned the authorities for not seizing the eight condominium units from the former director
The case of the former DBKL officer comes just days after a Sessions Court judge ordered a 'Datin' to be placed on a good behaviour bond for five years. The judgement created a huge storm for being lenient and Malaysians signed a petition against it:
Following which, the Datin's non-custodial sentence was to be heard for review in the High Court, however, she didn't show up: