Tg Aru jetty not for tourism — Mayor
KOTA KINABALU: The Sessions Court here yesterday was told that the Tanjung Aru jetty was built by the City Hall for the villagers and fishermen in the area, and not for tourism.
Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai, 61, who testified before judge Noor Hafizah Mohd Salim, said that the jetty was built and maintained by the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) since eight years ago.
In examination-in-chief by the deputy public prosecutor (DPP) from the Malaysian Maritime Department Nurun Nazifah Mohd Iyen, he told the court that initially the jetty was made of wood but the DBKK built a concrete jetty for the use of the villagers and fishermen.
To a question by Nurun Nazifah, Yeo also said that he did not know whether the jetty was used by other parties or a tourism agency.
Nurun: Do you recall any complaints made by the villagers about the jetty being used by other parties or tourism agency?
Yeo: We never received any complaints.
To another question by Nurun, Yeo explained that there was no notice to show that the jetty was for the use of the villagers and fishermen because it was readily understood and known that the jetty was meant for them (villagers and fishermen) and they had applied for it for their own convenience.
To another question by Nurun Nazifah, Yeo also said that a signboard had been put at the jetty after the catamaran tragedy in order to show that the jetty was only for the use of the villagers and fishermen.
Yeo was called by the prosecution as the 16th witness to give his testimony in the trial of three accused, Sharezza Salian, 23, Leong Vin Jee, 44, and Leong’s mother, Chung Ket Siew @ Chung Siaw Ping, 64, involved in the Catamaran tragedy on its way to Pulau Mengalum in January.
Sharezza, who was the skipper, Leong, the operation manager of the travel company, and Chung, the owner of the travel company face up to 10 charges and claimed trial to the charges which were read to them on March 16.
The three accused were each charged with causing hurt to 20 passengers, all from China aged between 17 and 50, by taking the boat to sea so negligently as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others.
They were charged under Section 337 of the Penal Code, which carries a jail term of up to six months or a maximum fine of RM1,000, or to both, upon conviction.
Sharezza, Leong and Chung were also alleged to have negligently caused the death of four China nationals, including two women, aged 27 and 49, but not amounting to culpable homicide.
The charges were framed under Section 304A of the Penal Code, which provides for a jail term of up to two years, or a fine, or to both, upon conviction.
Sharezza and Leong also face two joint charges under the Ports and Harbours Regulations 2008 for failure to keep on the passenger boat with the appropriate safety equipment at all times and for embarking the passengers at Kampung Tanjung Aru Lama Jetty here, which was not a designated landing point.
The offences were framed under Regulation 16 of the Ports and Harbours (Sabah Licensed Small Ships) Regulations 2008 and Regulation 13 of the Ports and Harbours (Ports, Harbours and Dues) Regulations 2008, respectively.
Meanwhile, Leong and Chung were jointly accused of failing to keep the boat licence on the passenger boat at all times, and were charged under Regulation 9 of the Ports and Harbours (Sabah Licensed Small Ships) Regulations 2008.
Chung was also alleged to have employed Sharezza as the skipper of the boat without altering and reporting the particulars of the skipper to the nearest licensing authority, an offence under Regulation 13 of the Ports and Harbours (Sabah Licensed Small Ships) Regulations 2008.
All of the alleged offences were committed at Kampung Tanjung Aru Lama Jetty, at a travel company in Asia City and in the waters off the coast of Mengalum Island here between 9.15am and 11am on January 28.
Meanwhile, a seventeenth witness, Sahar Piasin, 57, who is an enforcement officer from the Sabah Ports and Harbour Department (JPDS) testified that the catamaran boat had a crack on the left part of its transom (rear part of a boat which supports the engine).
In examination-in-chief by DPP Nartiah M. Sambathan, Sahar told the court that he had examined the catamaran on January 17 together with another two staff from the Jesselton Point.
He said that the catamaran had failed to get its approval due to its conditions, insufficient safety equipment, unhygienic and a crack was found at the transom.
Nartiah: How big was the crack?
Sahar: It was about seven inches.
Nartiah: As an examiner of the boat and experienced person in JPDS, in your opinion and in view of the condition and damage to the boat, is it safe for it (boat) to sail?
Sahar: With such damage (crack at the transom) and incomplete safety equipment, it is not safe for any boat or the catamaran to sail to the sea.
To another question by Nartiah, Sahar said that there were two men, the crew of the catamaran, present when the catamaran was checked and he had verbally informed the men of the result of the examination on the same day.
He said that he had told the crew to come back on January 21 for a re-examination to get the approval, however, they did not come for the re-examination.
Sahar said in reply to a question that he neither made any written record nor took a photo of the crack in the transom because he opined that the boat was not ready for an examination.
Leong and Chung were released on bail of RM19,000 and RM16,000 with RM3,500 and RM3,000 to be deposited in two local sureties, respectively while Sharezza is currently released on RM1,500 bail pending disposal of the case.
Counsel Edward Paul represented Leong and Chung while counsel Benazir Japiril Bandaran and Hamid Ismail represented Sharezza under the National Legal Aid Foundation (NLAF).
The trial continues on October 16.
Yeo leaving the court yesterday after testifying as the16th prosecution witness in the trial of three persons over the Catamaran tragedy in January.