SEREMBAN: The Special Elections Court here today sentence the returning officer for the Rembau parliamentary constituency, Amino Agus Suyub, to three months' jail after he was found guilty of disturbing the administration of justice.
Judge Datuk Azimah Omar handed down the decision after Amino and a witness, Daing Muhamad Rahimi, testified in court.
In the judgment, Azimah said Amino Agus' action in sending a message through the Whatsapp application to Daing a day before Daing was supposed to appear in court to testify as a witness was a serious action and could be regarded as contempt of court.
Daing was the assistant returning officer for the Rembau parliamentary constituency during the April 28 nomination day for the last general election.
The message sent by Amino through his personal line reads: “As Salam … Lepas ni kau akan jadi saksi … hati-hati … teruk den (saya) kono (kena) soal dalam court … lebih baik cakap tak tau …” (Salam … After this you'll be the witness … be careful … I was terribly questioned in court … it's better to say (you) don't know).
Amino, in his defence submission, said the Whatsapp was an expression of his feelings and not intended to teach Daing on how to testify in court.
He also said he he did not know that he could not communicate with other witnesses when proceeding of the case was still in progress.
Azimah said Amino knew and had knowledge that Daing was to appear in court as a witness on Oct 4, on the day after the Whatsapp was sent.
“In this matter, the court is of the opinion that the posting sent by Amino contained instruction on how to answer questions in court when testifying.
“The action in teaching a witness is a serious offence and can be taken lightly. Amino should know the consequence and effect of his action will affect the fair trial of this petition case,” she added.
Lawyer G. Rajasingam, representing Amino, requested the court not to impose the prison sentence as his client, who is a civil servant, could face termination of service if sentenced to jail.
He also said Amino was the sole breadwinner of the family, comprising an elderly mother, a wife who is not working and seven children, with the youngest suffering from a hole in the heart.
Azimah said the act by Amino in teaching a witness was a serious offence.
“It is also not a normal civil case. As a returning officer. Amino should realise the seriousness of this petition case.
“On the seriousness of Amino's action, the court hands down a three month imprisonment to be served from today,” she added.
However, she allowed a stay of the sentence following Rajasingam's request to appeal to the Court of Appeal. — Bernama