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Waytha: Magistrate not compassionate in Milo theft case

Waytha: Magistrate not compassionate in Milo theft case

 | March 3, 2016

P. Waythamoorthy
KUALA LUMPUR: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, referring to the case of a woman who was jailed a day and fined RM200 for stealing a packet of Milo from a supermarket for her two-year-old child, said that it would have sufficed if the magistrate had warned her instead and referred her to the Welfare Department for assistance.

“Instead, Madam Sellamah risked a further five days in jail by not paying the fine,” lamented Hindraf Chairman P. Waythamoorthy in a Facebook posting.

“She pleaded with Magistrate Husna Dzulkifly, ‘forgive me Madam Magistrate, I stole the Milo because my two-year-old child was nagging me for a drink’.”

“It was within the power of the Magistrate to release her. The law has to be tempered with compassion.”

Unfortunately, said Waytha in recalling previous cases, “the judicial system in Malaysia acts like a robot. They do not have any consideration for humanity.”

Waytha was commenting on an unnamed Malay lady who paid the fine in Court on Thursday for Madam Sellamah to spare her a further five days in jail and also drove to the Kajang Prison to get her released. “She wanted to personally give the release documents to the Director of Prison. I spoke to her.”

“She was told that it would take three hours to process the release documents before the accused could be freed. ‘As a mother, I could feel her pain,’ she told me.”

The Hindraf Chief learned that the Malay lady asked to be put on the phone to Madam Sellamah upon her release. “I have instructed a Hindraf activist, Mathavan, to get the details of both women for our records in following up the case.”

“The Malay lady drove to Kajang Prison when she should have been on her way to collect her son’s SPM results which were released on Thursday. She was late to go to school to collect the results.”

“What a gesture of love and humanity! This is beyond race and religion. This is an example of true Malaysians. She and her husband were together in this noble act. I told them that if only more Malaysians were like them, we would be a great nation.”

The couple, continued Waytha, was an example of a genuine act of kindness. “There was no thought of any return. This is the highest form of worship that a human being can do. May the Almighty bless her and her family.”

Madam Sellamah, added Waytha, was a classic case of the underclass, the marginalized, oppressed and sinking members of a community. “The elite and the upper class would see her as a criminal and say that she deserves to be punished.”

The Hindraf Chief went on about the 800,000 displaced estate workers in the peninsula who have been left out of the mainstream of economic development despite being hardworking in the estates for a very long time. “Almost 30 years have passed and the government has done nothing for them.”

“There should have been intervention and relocation programmes for them. The community has fallen into a state of hopelessness and despair.”

Waytha, a human rights advocate and senior lawyer in private practice, was briefly for a few months in the Federal Cabinet as Senator and Deputy Minister.

He was responsible for exercising oversight on a RM4.5 billion Barisan Nasional (BN)-Hindraf Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed in May 2013, to help bring the 800,000 displaced estate workers and a further 350,000 stateless persons into the mainstream of economic development through government intervention programmes including through the provision of training opportunities.