IPOH, July 27 ― The High Court today sentenced Tronoh assemblyman Paul Yong to 13 years of jail and two strokes of the rotan after finding him guilty of raping his former Indonesian maid three years ago.
Justice Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed said the 52-year-old state lawmaker’s defence team had failed to raise reasonable doubt against the prosecution’s case.
“As an employer you should be protecting her especially when she is from a different country and not act according to your lust. This is where the Malay proverb ‘harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi’ fits.
“The court takes into consideration the public interest of this case, and a lesson not only to the accused, but also to those who have similar intention to commit similar crime.
“A deterrent sentence is required as a warning with rape cases is on the increase,” the judge said.
When delivering the guilty verdict earlier, Abdul Wahab said that the court had found the victim to be credible and honest, adding that her testimony was convincing.
He added that the court also found that the victim did not fabricate any story just to return to her home country.
In contrast, the judge said the defence witnesses’ testimonies appeared to have elements of afterthoughts to them.
“Also the point raised about a political ploy against the accused cannot be proved by the defence team,” he said.
Yong’s counsel Datuk Rajpal Singh and Salim Bashir asked the court for a stay of execution as they planned to file an appeal against the verdict, which was granted.
But the judge ordered Yong to surrender his passport to the court and set bail at RM15,000 with one surety.
Yong’s lawyers had sought to mitigate his sentence earlier, pointing out that his client has served as an assemblyman for nine years and had no previous criminal record.
“He is married and have four children who are still studying. Yong does not have any criminal records prior to this case and have done a lot charitable works. Therefore, I request the court for a minimum jail sentence without lashes,” Rajpal said.
His co-counsel Salim also argued that the crime was one without bloodshed and did not involve an underage victim.
“He has done a lot of good work and we hope there will be reformation in the sentencing and will be given a minimum punishment,” Salim said.
But state prosecution director Azalina Rashdi argued that the punishment should be befitting of the nature, gravity and seriousness of the case.
“Even though the accused did not have criminal records, it should not be a factor for a lower sentence. “Rape is a big offence as it’s takes away the dignity of the victim. The victim will also suffer trauma for life long.
“A deterrent punishment should be given as it will be a lesson to others who want to commit this crime,” she said.