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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Catamaran skipper in Pulau Mengalum tragedy jailed 6 months

KOTA KINABALU - The skipper of the boat which capsized while heading to Pulau Mengalum on Jan 28 this year, has been sentenced to six months in prison for overloading.

Sharezza Salian, 26, who was unrepresented and refused to engage a lawyer, committed the offence at a jetty along Lorong Tun Mustapha in Kampung Tanjung Aru Lama around 9.15am on Jan 28, 2017.

He admitted before magistrate Ainul Shahrin Mohamad today, to carrying 28 passengers, which was 12 more than the permitted number.

The charge under Section 282 of the Penal Code read with Section 34 of the same Code, carries a jail term of up to six months or a RM2,000 fine or both, on conviction.

In mitigation, he said he was the third of eight children and came from a poor family.

However, deputy public prosecutor Aida Fatimah Abd Jabar urged the court to impose the maximum sentence in the interest of the public.

The DPP stressed Sharezza should be imposed the maximum sentence also as a lesson to other tour boat operators to obey rules and not break the law just to satisfy their greed for profit.

Meanwhile, the court fixed Feb 6 for remention of the case against the ill-fated catamaran's owner Leong Vin Jee, 43, who was jointly charged with Sharezza but failed to understand the charge when it was read out to him.

The accused, represented by counsel Edward Paul, was released on a fully deposited bail of RM5,000 bail with one surety and ordered to surrender his passport to the court.

In the incident at 10am last Saturday, the tour boat carrying 28 tourists from China and three crew was believed to have capsized after being battered by strong winds and huge waves while heading to Pulau Mengalum.

To date, 22 of the victims have been rescued while three others lost their lives.

- Bernama

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