This column was first published on The Malaysian Insider.
“Lord Bobo, I’ve recently been caught in the act (tangkap basah) with a girl by the authorities. They are now saying that they will proceed to bring charges and take the matter further unless I pay them RM1,500. They promise that, if I pay them, the matter will disappear. What can they do to me, and what should I do?” (Can’t Help Myself, via email)
The First Rule of Khalwat Club is – you carry out your fully-clothed *ahem* close counter engagement with comely manifestations of the opposite sex in a 5-star hotel room. The Second Rule of Khalwat Club is – you get a goddamn 5-star hotel room for those close counter engagements with delightful examples of the opposite sex. The Third Rule of Khalwat Club is – if you cannot afford a 5-star hotel room, then you save up, get a personal loan, or sell your car to get that hotel room. Nak khalwat kena kelassss. Paham?
Now that you are apprised of the rules of the game, let us discuss the rules after the game is up.
The First Rule of Breaking the Law Club is – you must not get caught. The Second Rule of Breaking the Law Club is – you must seriously try not to get caught. The Third Rule of Breaking the Law Club is – you must break more rules in trying to avoid the repercussions of breaking the first and second rules. The Fourth Rule of Breaking the Law Club is – you must not tell anybody of these rules or have them published in popular media outlet. Nak nakal, kena pandai. Paham?
Anyway, back to your problem. You have joined the Khalwat Club and got kicked out of the Breaking the Law Club. Fret not. You now have membership to the Ask Lord Bobo for Help Cause I’m Too Cheap To Hire His Awesome Minions for Ridiculously Reasonable Fees Club. Welcome! We hope you stay here long time.
The RM1,500 the authorities are demanding to drop the charges is simply the standard Pay Me Not to Work (PMNTW) Fee. It is a common fee requested by all enforcement officers at every level. Please do not confuse this with those political fees known as Pay Me to Approve Your Proposal Fee. Both are entirely legit of course *whistles* – just don’t go around talking about them.
As PMNTW fees go, it does sound on the high side. The maximum penalty they can hit you with for khalwat is a fine of RM3,000 or jail-time of up to 2 years, or both. If it is your first time (we are referring to getting caught, not that other first time), you are likely to be hit with just a fine. Prison is uncommon. You might want to negotiate that PMNTW fee down – this is Malaysia, everything can be bargained, and everyone expects everyone else to ask for a discount.
But Lord Bobo is of course entirely against corruption and all these unofficial fees, so our advice would be to go through this thing called the “Syariah legal process” where the prosecution will have to prove you were in close proximity with that girl in a secluded or private place, raising suspicions that both of you were doing something immoral.
You can raise a defence to rebut that the circumstances of your engagement were entirely wholesome. For example, maybe both of you were listening to a recording of last year’s Champion of the International Al-Quran Reading Competition to appreciate the finer nuances of his recitation. We just hope you both had your clothes on at the time. If not, somebody’s been a naughty boy!
Dear Lord Bobo, the IGP says the police don’t need parental consent or presence when questioning kids, but lawyers say the IGP is wrong. So, who’s right? (Robocop, via email)
This is obviously referring to the SK Seri Pristina issue, and the answer is – everyone has been wrong. At the temple of Lord Bobo, His Supreme Eminenceness is the law expert, and the issue must be seen primarily as a legal question, and only then as a moral one.
First, one must distinguish between suspects and witnesses. The children questioned were not classified as suspects but as witnesses who could shed light on the case.
Second, if the police wish to gather information from child witnesses, they must follow the specific procedure under the Child Act 2001, and not the general provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code. The Child Act was passed to protect children, i.e. those below the age of 18, after Malaysia signed and accepted the Convention of the Rights of Children 1989 (“CRC”). A child’s best interest is paramount in the application of the Child Act and the CRC in relation to police conduct.
Third, section 113 of the Child Act requires the police to order the custodian of a child who is to be questioned to produce the child for that purpose. From the media reports, it seems the parents were not ordered to produce their children for questioning. Without the 113 order from the police, it would be unlawful to question the children. Section 113 has been violated.
In any event, the Child Act is silent on the power of the police to either orally question or take a written statement from a child witness. Without an express power, the police cannot act in the way they did. The law has a gap, and looks like an ass, and the IGP was clearly talking out of his.
Lord Bobo advises that the parents sue the police for arbitrary and unlawful interference with the lives and privacy of their children, and claim damages for emotional distress to the children. We would also very much appreciate if journalists could properly question the IGP about his motives for spreading such mistruths.
Morally, the police must surely as a matter of courtesy, decorum, and kindness inform the parents before approaching the children to ask them questions. Isn’t showing love and care the Malaysian way? Or are we now in the era of endless possibilities?
Dear Lord Bobo, it’s good to see you back. While you have been away, Malaysia’s 13th general election came and went. Have you noticed a change? (Tak Ubah Pun, via email)
Lord Bobo has never been away. We are omnipresent. It is your timid mind which is unable to comprehend that we are here, there, and everywhere (yes, even there) all the time, in different forms. And yes, we know you were looking at those pictures on that website today.
But anyway, His Supreme Eminenceness does not fault you for your lack of mental abilities. Our education system is to blame. And Lord Bobo knows you are not an avid reader of Ask Lord Bobo. For if you were, you would have long ago stopped expecting politicians or these elections that take place once every five years to be what changes things. Get it through your thick skull – accept that in the system we have, your vote is almost meaningless. Stop relying on politicians, and be part of the revolution as the citizens reclaim their power.
Although Lord Bobo already knows your question before you even knew you had a question, as a practical display of your true desire to have your query answered, His Supreme Eminenceness has graciously allowed you to communicate your questions by either emailing [email protected] or tweeting your question, mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #AskLordBobo. Now, what the hell are you waiting for? Hear This and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)!