How I look at Yusoff Ayob’s case


By TK Chua

I rarely disagree with Mariam Mokhtar for her many views and opinions. She was right when she said the case involving Yusoff Ayob, the deputy director-general of the Road Transport Department (JPJ), should be made an example.

The judicial establishment was also doubly quick in sending Yusoff’s case back to the Magistrate Court for retrial. The Magistrate Court was justly criticised for accepting a guilty plea from a “representative” of Yusoff.

We have a perfect case to condemn and criticise – a very senior officer of JPJ was caught driving on the emergency lane; did not turn up for his court hearing but instead sent a representative to plead guilty on his behalf; and was fined RM600, an amount considered as too light.

We are happy that the ruling establishment and the public have acted fast to see that fairness and justice prevail. What a wonderful feeling when we get to see that the law is higher, regardless of a person’s position and status.

But have we missed the forest for the trees? I suspect we have.

How often have we seen gross injustice, yet nothing is done? How often have we heard of deaths in custody cases? How often have we seen investigations of crimes leading to no outcome for years? How often have we seen bizarre decisions made when dispensing justice? How often have we seen powerful individuals who are seemingly exempted from any civil suit or prosecution?

But have we heard an outcry as loud as that in Yusoff’s case? Did we see quick remedial measures instituted by “the powers that be” to make right the wrong?

I hope Yusoff’s case is not just a “convenient example” to show that the government means business when it comes to the rule of law.

It is our duty to highlight injustices. It is the duty of the ruling establishment to monitor and review all bizarre decisions, not when it is convenient or non-controversial for them to do so.

Justice is deep in meaning. We cannot selectively or indiscriminately apply it to the poor and the helpless; neither can we selectively and conveniently apply it to those with position and status just to give an impression that we are fair.

TK Chua is an FMT reader

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