LETTER | As I write this piece, the net citizens are re-visiting the incident that led to the jailing of 27-year-old clerk Sam Ke Ting (above) for six years without bail!
No one would disagree with me that bail is usually denied for reckless driving, which involved the death of eight teenagers.
However, there is something more cynical about this than what most people see.
More than meets the eye
Net citizens are generally very angry because while some offenders who have stolen so much money from the nation's coffers are roaming about freely, a young woman has been sentenced to six years in jail.
The other reason is that these kids are a menace to other motorists, riding on their bicycles in a dangerous manner. They have no business being on a highway, and they are not only endangering their own lives but the lives of many other citizens.
The third reason is that, as I see it, some politicians try to racialise this case to win votes, but the anger of net citizens has hit the roof that not only the Chinese but many Malays are using this incident to speak up against the way how things are developing in the country.
I noticed that an online petition was, in fact, initiated by a Malay. Even Sam's lawyer was a Malay, which goes to show that, with the exception of politicians who continue to play on the racial card, we are still united as Malaysians.
While most people would not even think of pressuring the authorities to charge the parents for their negligence, it looks like what a young Malay lawyer had put forward may be one of the only options to ensure that basikal lanjak (illegally modified bicycles) racing does not happen anymore.
In a report by FMT, lawyer Nor Zabetha Muhammad Nor said, "this was paramount when it comes to the safety of these minors, adding that any such neglect should be considered an offence under the Child Act 2001."
Perhaps, it is time for net citizens to call on the parents of these kids to be charged in court for their failure to keep their teenagers from behaving menacingly on the highways, as they, too, can be fined up to RM20,000 or jailed for five years, if found guilty of neglecting the safety of their children.
In short, it is not the accident or the jailing of Sam, but Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, are angry with what they see happening to the country.
People against Insanity
One of the most critical commentators is Mariam Mokhtar. In a video, Mariam, in her own fashion, has probably made some of the most sarcastic remarks about the entire episode. I sent it out to friends to gauge their responses.
Being a Malay herself, no one can call her a racist when she reprimands her own people. She feels she has to do it – and she is right!
Most people are sympathetic towards the lady not because she is Chinese but because such an accident should not have happened in the first place. The teenagers riding their bicycles recklessly on the highway were inviting disaster to happen, not only to their own lives but to the lives of others.
If it did not happen to Sam, it could happen to any of us. Even Johor Prince Tunku Idris Sultan Ibrahim was not spared from this menace, which prompted His Excellency to speak up on a personal observation of these teenagers in his own state.
In the article carried by Malaysiakini on Feb 25, 2017, Tunku Idris was responding to a campaign called "Protest against Chinese woman who was not jailed or fined and was let off by police just like that." He, too, was against the racialisation of the accident.
Based on the videos released by net citizens, the way these bicyclists were riding their bicycles on the road was simply too dangerous. If not stopped immediately, similar accidents can happen again. This is why I can understand why the amount of support Sam is getting is simply overwhelming.
The only one weird response that I received came from a former journalist with an English daily, whose argument seems totally off-tangent, who said: "Because she is a single, pretty looking 27-year old lady, that's why she gets plenty of public support, ignoring the fact reckless driving was involved."
The police have confirmed that Sam was not drunk, and neither was she on drugs. She was driving within the speed limit, and it was a highway; and based on the facts, the road itself was very dark. She could have entered into a state of panic and lost control of the vehicle, and fortunately enough, it did not hit all 30 kids.
Sam's car had turned turtle, and she could have been killed in the accident. It is obvious to me that the kids had no business riding their bicycles on the highway. If a truck had come, the accident could have been much worse!
But, in my opinion, what irks people the most is the way this government conducts itself in this and other cases involving small offenders during the movement control order. The conclusion I see written all over everyone's mind is: "There appear to be two standards – one for the elitists, the other for ordinary citizens."
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.