Last Friday (May 6), police detained a maintenance company worker who failed to move his car to make way for the escort of the Yang di-Pertua Of Sarawak, before hurriedly fleeing the scene.
Now, after four days on remand, he has been sentenced to 12 days in jail and penalised RM10,000 by two Magistrate Courts.
He was found guilty of impeding the duties of a policeman guiding the convoy and driving erratically and dangerously on the Sultan Iskandar Highway.
Erdy Errwan Hamdan, 36, was sentenced to seven days in jail and made to pay a RM3,000 fine by Magistrate Aina Azahra Arifin, according to Harian Metro.
Errwan entered a guilty plea to obstructing Lance Corporal Mohd Azwar Iqbal Chinang from performing his duties as the Yang di-Pertua Of Sarawak’s accompanying officer cum escort.
The conviction was lodged under Penal Code Section 186, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison or a fine of RM10,000, or even both.
Magistrate Amanina Mohamad Anuar sentenced him to five days in jail and an RM7,000 fine, and barred him from carrying or acquiring a driver’s licence for at least five years.
He admitted to navigating a yellow Honda Civic unlawfully and therefore jeopardising himself along with other road users at 10 p.m. that night.
The crime is governed by Section 42 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 and is liable to punishment by the same act, with a maximum prison term of five years.
It also entails a punishment of not less than RM5,000 and not more than RM15,000, as well as a five-year suspension from retaining or obtaining a driver’s licence.
Magistrate Aina Azahra sentenced the accused to a seven-day jail term beginning on the day of his detention on May 7, or to be imprisoned for three months if the fine was not fulfilled.
Conversely, in a separate court, Magistrate Amanina Mohamad Anuar had imposed a five-day jail sentence, which began yesterday; or a five-month jail sentence if the fine is not paid.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nurilya Ellyna Norazman and Prosecuting Officer Inspector Abdullah Khazali also previously requested adequate punishment to enlighten the offenders and teach the society a lesson.
Errwan, who was not backed by an attorney, appealed for a reduced sentence.
The convicted makes RM1,600 to RM1,700 per month and must sustain his wife and two children, aged six and three, respectively.
As per reports, on the day of the occurrence, a Honda Civic from the rear was driving recklessly in the left lane of the highway, leading to a shift with another vehicle during a convoy escorted by officers toward the Sultan Iskandar Highway to the Jalan Tunku Abdul Halim exit.
The Honda Civic was speeding and passed the convoy via the emergency lane on the left side of the road, disregarding the escort’s warning to exit the convoy path, according to a 53-second dash camera footage.
As expected, the matter has stirred displeasure among netizens, most of them claiming that influential persons have low regard for the rest of the society, making for a backwards system of illogical hierarchy.
While most of the comments were of the similar nature, some argued that the facts of the case did not add up to the actual incident, and others faulted the concept of the convoy altogether, due to past cases involving VIP automobiles.
Earlier this year, netizens also gathered across social media platforms to discuss a controversial case whereby the Prime Minister’s convoy had reportedly been given priority over a blaring ambulance, as seen via a dashcam clip.
All of the automobiles halted by the convoy’s traffic police were seen pulling over to the side to allow the ambulance to pass towards the front of the line in the footage. The ambulance was subsequently stopped by traffic cops who were on the lookout for a convoy approaching from the flyover.
At the time, the incident sparked outrage among the society, who had condemned VIPs for neglecting people’s lives as second-class citizens.
An officer had also reportedly replied to a netizen’s comment, by saying “No comment. I was not at the location and do not know the real situation. The one recording is wrong too, with his bad language and using his hand-phone while driving.”