On speculation that Syed Saddiq’s overall sentence is disproportionate compared with the likes of Najib, Mr Hafiz said the courts are guided by considerations such as mitigating factors, aggravating factors and, most importantly, public interest.
He said this sentence could serve the public interest by deterring others from committing similar offences.
“Such a sentence may also deter the particular criminal from committing a crime again, or induce him to turn from a criminal to (living) an honest life. The court has the right and the duty to decide whether to be lenient or severe,” said Mr Hafiz.
“No two sentences can be the same as the accused persons are not the same. The mitigating and aggravating factors are also not the same,” he added.
Speaking to reporters after Thursday’s verdict, the case’s lead prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said the prosecution had sought a “strong deterrent sentence” to prevent such incidents from recurring.
“In this case, politicians are entrusted but have betrayed that trust. Regardless of whether someone is (a) 30-year-old or 50-year-old, if entrusted, do not betray it,” he reportedly said.
Syed Saddiq has said he will appeal the court’s decision. This means the case will be brought before the Court of Appeal and if his appeal is dismissed there, his final appeal will be at the Federal Court, said Mr Hafiz.
If the final appeal fails, he will be disqualified as an MP.
PERCEPTION OF DOUBLE STANDARDS
His sentence has, however, stirred up allegations of double standards and political motives.
On social media platform X, netizen Mishel Farreyna wrote that Syed Saddiq’s sentence was unexpected “especially considering there are larger figures moving about without consequences”.
Local media outlet Malaysiakini published a comment from a reader titled, “Hard to view Syed Saddiq’s sentence as proportionate”.
The reader who goes by the moniker My2cen wrote: “It’s hard to view his sentencing as commensurate with his crime, especially when former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak only received 12 years for abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering charges.
“Not to mention there was a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) for the man who brought 26 MPs from UMNO to form the federal government.”
My2cen was referring to how Mr Ahmad Zahid played a key role in convincing members of his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party to back Pakatan Harapan (PH) chief Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister after the 15th General Election yielded a hung parliament.
Source: Channel News Asia