Khir Toyo Jailed?

I just read in the news that the former Selangor Menteri Besar has been sentenced to 12 months jail. According to the article, “Former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo was found guilty by the High Court here today on a charge of obtaining for himself and his wife a valuable property at a consideration he knew was insufficient, four years ago. He was sentenced to one year in jail from today. The court also ordered Khir’s land and bungalow be forfeited.”

With all due respect, I personally find this decision a little worrying.

If we are going to start forfeiting and jailing people for buying cheap properties in Malaysia, we’re going to get into trouble because as Malaysians, we all like to strike a good bargain. I personally know many people who have bought properties well below the market price because we like a good bargain.

We love our discounts, and our haggling and I would defend that as our cultural right!

If he had gotten it for free, that would be a totally different problem. The fact that he had paid a cool RM3.5 million for it (while it was supposedly worth RM6.5 million), that is a different issue. I don’t see what’s the problem with buying it cheap if it was done in a legal manner.

If the issue is that of insufficient consideration, then shouldn’t the peppercorn rule apply in this case? At most, the transaction could be considered void and the property returned to the seller. Forfeiture and jail time seems a little excessive to me.

I’m confused.

Criminal laws must work very differently from civil laws.

PS: Also, does this mean that he is disqualified to contest under Article 48 of the Consti since the law clearly states that someone can be disqualified from being an MP for a jail sentence that is no less than one year. I guess that a similar restriction applies to state’s assembly person.

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Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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