Foreign Man Sentenced To Prison After Teaching In Sabah With Fake IC For 29 Years

"He has educated many outstanding students and sportsmen in his years of teaching," said his lawyer while asking for leniency.

Cover image via New Straits Times & SMK Kemabong Tenom (Facebook)

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A man has been sentenced to prison for pretending to be a Malaysian citizen and teaching at a secondary school in Sabah for 29 years

According to the New Straits Times, the teacher, Ridal Abdul Kadir, was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment and fined RM6,000 for using a fake identification card (IC) to gain employment.

The 54-year-old pleaded guilty before Magistrate Nur Asyraf Zolhani at the Keningau Magistrates' Court on Thursday, 22 February.

Ridal was arrested on 29 January 2024 after a complaint on the matter led the National Registration Department (JPN) to conduct an inspection of his documents at the school

It was found that Ridal held a temporary identity card issued by JPN.

He is believed to be a temporary resident in Malaysia as he was born in Sabah, but to Indonesian parents.

However, he eventually obtained a fake Malaysian IC and sought employment at SMK Kemabong in Tenom in 1994.

SMK Kemabong in Tenom, Sabah.

Image via CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/Wikipedia

During court proceedings, JPN prosecuting officer Mohd Naser Mohd Nadzeri asked for a deterrent sentence based on public interest and social justice

He emphasised that possessing a fake IC is unethical and irresponsible.

"Whatever the reason put forward to justify the possession of a fake identity card is irrelevant.

"The accused has also used this fake identity card to work as a teacher for approximately 29 years and has enjoyed benefits as a civil servant," said the prosecutor.

However, Ridal's counsel, Korventt Wheezar, sought leniency for his client, who is a first-time offender and a father of four

Wheezar stated that Ridal had only taken such a risk because he wanted to become an educator.

"He has educated many outstanding students and sportsmen in his years of teaching, and he did all of that with pride and dedication, simply because educating children is, and will always be his utmost passion," he was quoted as saying.

The lawyer added that Ridal is remorseful and has apologised to everyone who may have been affected by his actions.

He also said that the long-time teacher was due for retirement soon, but ultimately would not be receiving any benefits for his years of service due to the nature of the charge against him.

"He will lose all the benefits due and will receive punishment instead," said Wheezar in his urge for mitigation.

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