KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A Pakistani businessman was slapped with a native customary fine of eight buffaloes and eight gongs for insulting the native Kadazandusun Murut Rungus (KDMR) community at the Kota Marudu Native Court in Sabah on Tuesday (July 21).
The court's district chief Baintin Adun, who presided over the trial, found Amir Ali Khan Nawatay guilty of six offences in an audio clip, where he appeared to have made threats, used foul language and incited the anger of the community.
The accused, who is running a business premise in the town of Kota Marudu, was given one month to settle the customary fine. Otherwise, he will face a RM4,000 (S$1,300) fine or a 16-month jail term, or both.
He was hauled to court after a complaint was filed against him on June 9 after the audio recording became viral.
The trial was initially set for June 17 but was postponed, as the accused had to undergo a mental assessment at a hospital in state capital Kota Kinabalu.
"This time, we made the trial known to the public in less than 12 hours, because we wanted to avoid any untoward incidents (from the angered community).
"In future, I would like to advise the Pakistani citizen, who has been living in Sabah for many years, as well as everyone else, to refrain from using race or race-based sentiments in arguments, and they should focus on the name of individuals they have issues with, " said Mr Baintin when contacted.
The initial trial on June 17 had drawn a large crowd from the local community.