Saying sorry does not cut it, says criminologist

PETALING JAYA: Someone who slaps a person in public and then apologises for the incident should not be allowed to get away with it, said criminologist Datuk Seri Akhbar Satar.

He said the courts should not give the man any sympathy and punish him accordingly for the offences he committed.

“His apology should be ignored. Firstly, because someone like him will do it again if he is not punished. He also needs to learn that just because he has power, authority and a title, it does not mean he can use it negatively. He should reflect himself positively as people expect those with titles to be better,” Akhbar told theSun.

Datuk Tan Wai Khan, a 42-year-old businessman, issued an apology via video recording for assaulting a man and a woman at a restaurant in Tropicana last week.

Tan, who was freed along with his friend on police bail last Saturday, admitted they were angry for being told off by a younger person, which led him to slap the younger man and the woman.

Counselling psychologist Dr Gerard Louis said Tan’s reaction could have come after something he valued had been violated.

“This person is someone who could value positional standing, which means he should be respected as an older person.

“Respect is also important to him, and he probably would have taught his children the same thing. When that value is violated, anger will surface,” he said.

Louis added the fact Tan conceded he was drunk at the time meant his inhibitions were clouded.

“Under normal circumstances, he would have told off the younger person but not hit him.”

The HELP University Faculty of Behavioural Sciences dean said ways of restraining oneself from physical outbursts include anger management therapy and emotional management strategies.

“Before it becomes a full-blown episode where you develop symptoms like heart racing faster and ears turning red, get up and walk away. There’s no shame in doing that, rather than risk going to court. It’s not worth your trouble,” he said.

The incident, which went viral on social media last week, saw Tan and his friend retaliating after a 30-year-old manager told Tan to lower his voice as he was talking loudly while dining.

Tan had a heated argument with the man before assaulting him and a waitress of the restaurant.

Malaysian Bar Council president Salim Bashir said admissions can be classified into two categories – informal and judicial admissions.

“Admission made outside the court is proof of an informal admission. But the person must again testify the evidential burden under Section 17 of the Evidence Act (1950).”

The Evidence Act states an admission can be oral or documentary, made at any time by a person accused of an offence, stating or suggesting he committed the offence.

The men are being investigated for assault and criminal intimidation.