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Over 1 Million Sign Petitions To Free Woman Convicted Of 'Basikal Lajak' Deaths

Four petitions were launched after 27-year-old Sam Ke Ting was sentenced to six years in jail and a RM6,000 fine.

Cover image via Shaifuldin Ahmad/Bernama & Berita Harian

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Over one million signatures have been collected on separate online petitions demanding justice for Sam Ke Ting, the woman who was sentenced to six years in prison in the 'basikal lajak' case

The Johor Bahru High Court had yesterday, 13 April, overturned the Magistrates' Court's decision to acquit Sam, charging her for causing death by reckless driving after she crashed into a group of teens riding modified bicycles and killing eight of them on Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, Johor Bahru at 3.30am on 18 February 2017.

Besides the prison sentence, the High Court also banned her from driving for three years, effective after she completes the sentence, and also ordered her to serve another six months' jail if she failed to pay a RM6,000 fine.

The verdict has since seen four online petitions launched on Change.org, with two of them each passing 500,000 signatures as of 6pm today, 14 April.

Image via Berita Harian

The first petition is addressed to the Court of Appeal, calling for the release of Sam from the High Court's "unacceptable" sentence

"We Malaysians are horrified by the new sentence of Sam, where facts supported that she was a responsible driver, the real victim in this accident," said the creator of the petition, a user named Wan Junaida.

With the hashtag #FreeSamKeTing, the petition said Sam was earlier freed from the charge of reckless driving with the Magistrates' Court noting that she was not under the influence of alcohol, was not using her phone, and had her seatbelt on while driving.

"This proved that she was driving responsibly and carefully, but it was a dark, hilly, and winding road where the driver could not foresee that there would be a bicycle gang on the road at 3am in the morning."

Instead, the petition said it was the teenagers and their parents who were the cause of the incident, as they were roaming the street on their bicycles in the middle of the night. 

"We do not accept this judgment, and seek to have her sentence overturned, so as to not rob the bright future of a young, innocent Malaysian citizen," the petition said.

The petition has gained over 500,000 signatures at the time of writing.

'Basikal lajak' are illegally modified bicycles.

Image via Berita Harian

Meanwhile, the other petition with over 500,000 signatures, titled 'Justice for Sam Ke Ting', calls for justice to be upheld despite the bitterness over the lives lost

"No one wants an accident to happen, even more if it involves losing young souls. There is no denying there will be emotions attached to this case, but justice needs to be upheld. The truth and facts cannot be ignored," said the petition starter, Muhammad Affin.

Also addressed to the Court of Appeal, the petition said, "The tragic incident happened on the road after 3am. Roads are for cars, not for modified bicycles."

It added that Sam has been proven to be driving within the speed limit during the incident, and that she has also been previously acquitted twice, so it did not make sense for the court to, again, overturn the decision.

"Despite the loss of life being tragic, we must not victimise another," the petition said, urging for justice for the 27-year-old.

Hundreds of signees have also left comments of support and their reasons for signing the petitions

Image via Change.org
Image via Change.org
Image via Change.org

While waiting to be transferred to Kluang Prison, Sam has filed an appeal against the High Court's judgement:

Meanwhile, the families of the 'basikal lajak' victims have expressed gratitude for the High Court's ruling against Sam:

Learn more about the case here: