Malaysia trader fined for adding colouring to dried shrimps

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A trader who sprayed colouring on his dried shrimps to make them look fresh has been slapped with the maximum fine of RM100,000 (S$32, 107) by a Sabah court for misleading or deceiving consumers.

High Court judge Nurchaya Arshad ordered the maximum fine of RM100,000 or a year's imprisonment in default on Abdul Naser Jainuk, 56, after allowing the prosecution's appeal against the RM20,000 fine imposed by a Sessions Court on Wednesday (July 12).

On Feb 13, 2016, Abdul Naser and his sister Nura Imam Anuk, 45, were each fined RM20,000 by the Sessions Court for committing the offence.

They were convicted under Sec­tion 9 (a) of the Consumer Protection Act 1999, punishable under Section 25 (1) (b) of the same Act.

The charge, read together with Section 34 of the Penal Code, carries a fine not exceeding RM100,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both, upon conviction.

The two siblings admitted to cheating the public by spraying colouring on 6.9kg of dried shrimps to make them look fresh, new and reddish when in fact the actual colour of the dried shrimps was white.

The offence was committed at a stall in Sinsuran here on Oct 20, 2016.

At the High Court on Wednesday, deputy public prosecutor Nartiah Michelle submitted that the offence was serious and affected the health of the public.

The accused had gained by selling the dried shrimps at RM25 per kg compared with its actual price of RM20 per kg.

The prosecution also contended that their action was highlighted in a viral video that sparked negative comments from the public.

It said their actions also tarnished the image of local seafood products and tourism industry.

On June 25 this year, the High Court had also increased the fine imposed on Nura Imam to RM100,000 in default of a year's imprisonment after allowing the prosecution's appeal.