GEORGE TOWN: A man facing possible prison time for selling RM360 worth of contraband cigarettes at his sundry shop in Butterworth is believed to have jumped off the Second Penang Bridge here this morning.
This prompted a rescue mission off the waters near Batu Maung. Only his motorcycle has been recovered so far.
The sundry shop owner from Tasek Gelugor, Butterworth, had written a bitter note on Facebook condemning the government and the authorities for making him pay “thousands of ringgit” in bail money and fines.
He said the decision to take his life was after the Customs Department brought him to court for selling RM360 worth of “cheap cigarettes”, an offence that could also see him being jailed.
According to the FB posting, he claimed he was arrested twice, once in 2012, when he was caught with RM160 worth of cigarettes, and another time in February when he was caught with RM200 worth of cigarettes.
“Yes, I agree that what I did was wrong, but the punishment is not befitting the crime.
“Here we have government directors who stole millions getting away on bail (but I could not).
“Whatever that is happening to me is due to the evil government of the day. I am just a small-time sundry shop owner.
“I hope my sacrifice today would leave small-time traders from being charged for minor offences. I am sorry, I cannot be imprisoned for this and I have do this,” his status read.
His friend shared his note on WhatsApp and this became viral. Attempts to reach his family have failed.
No missing persons police report has been filed by family members.
He is believed to have been scheduled to face a court charge in Butterworth this morning but instead he is said to have headed straight to the bridge.
According to the Fire and Rescue Department, the man was reported to have alighted from his Modenas motorcycle at the bridge, island bound, and leapt from the ledge at 8.40am today.
Passing motorists alerted the authorities.
Malaysian Maritime Enfocement Agency Second District Director Captain Rozali Mohd Said said the search would continue and he was confident of recovering his remains, if indeed the man had fallen into the sea.
“We are aware that this man’s note has gone viral. We cannot comment as this is beyond our jurisdiction,” he told reporters.
Rozali revealed that there were 17 cases of people jumping off the Penang Bridge this year.
He said for the second bridge, this was the first this year. Last year, one person was reported to have fallen from the bridge.