Perpetrators of the appalling KK Mart petrol bomb attacks may face up to 14 years imprisonment and a fine

Malaysia was rocked recently by a series of Molotov cocktail or petrol bomb attacks at 3 separate locations nationwide, purportedly targeting the same convenience store chain, KK Mart. While no parties have come out to claim responsibility for each attack, the incidents are believed to be related to the infamous offensive ‘Allah’ socks controversy involving KK Mart, of which the convenience chain founder and director have been charged with intentionally wounding the religious feelings of Muslims in our country.

The first petrol bomb attack happened in Bidor, Perak on 26 March, with the Molotov cocktail thankfully failing to explode. The next incident took place just 3 days later in Kuantan, Pahang and resulted in several items catching fire but thankfully, the flames were immediately put out by KK Mart workers who were on duty during that time.

The latest attack as of the time of writing happened in Kuching, Sarawak on 31 March, whereby a glass bottle filled with kerosene was thrown at some boxes placed at the 5-foot-way of the KK Mart outlet at Jalan Satok. It is unknown whether all 3 attacks were coordinated or what the motives behind them were, with the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) currently investigating all incidents and tracking down the perpetrators.

So, what action can be taken against the perpetrators of these appalling attacks? Well, join us as we delve into the relevant laws below.

Section 435 of the Penal Code for mischief by fire

Based on what was reported of all 3 incidents, the most relevant provision relating to these purported Molotov cocktail attacks is Section 435 of the Penal Code, which deals with mischief by fire.

According to the provision above, any individual who commits mischief by fire or any explosive substance with the intent to cause, or knowing it to be likely to cause damage to any property to the amount above RM50 shall be liable under Section 435 of the Penal Code.

The provision further prescribed those convicted with a punishment of imprisonment up to 14 years and a fine.

Section 503 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation

Besides that, perpetrators of the petrol bomb attacks may also be charged under Section 503 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation below:

As the attacks involve damages to property, should the investigation find that the actions of the perpetrators were made with the intent to cause alarm to the management or employees of the KK Mart outlet or to cause them to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, it can be argued that the Molotov cocktail attacks are considered criminal intimidation.

However, this all depends on the motives of the perpetrators and if the criminal intimidation was exerted by the suspects having taken precautions to conceal their identities, Section 507 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication may be more relevant to the cases.

Section 507 of the Penal Code is as below:

Accordingly, should the perpetrators be charged and convicted under Section 507 of the Penal Code, the provision prescribes a punishment of imprisonment of up to 2 years in addition to the punishment for criminal intimidation as per Section 506 of the Penal Code below:

Hence, if the perpetrators were charged under Section 507, they may face up to 7 years in jail, a fine or both for the mischievous actions, should they be convicted under Section 506 of the Penal Code as well.

Attempting to commit a terrorist act

Besides that, the actions of the perpetrators of the petrol bomb attacks may also make them liable for attempting to commit a terrorist act. Theoretically, the suspects may be classified as a terrorist under Section 130B of the Penal Code below:

The emphasis is on the “attempts to commit”, whereby the perpetrator’s action is within what Section 130B prescribes as a “terrorist act” below:

As per the above provision, depending on the results of the investigation, the petrol bomb attacks are arguably covered under both subsections 2(b) and 2(c). Should the intent of the attacks be in relation to the offensive ‘Allah’ socks controversy, the action may be deemed as intending to advance a political or ideological cause under subsection 2(b) and to intimidate the public or a section of the public as per subsection 2(c)(i).

Besides that, the petrol bomb attacks may also fall within subsection 3 of Section 130B of the Penal Code, especially subsections 3(e) and 3(j) below:

Should the suspects be deemed to have attempted to commit a terrorist act as prescribed under Section 130B, they may also be tried under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, commonly known as SOSMA. This is because Section 130B is under Chapter VIA of the Penal Code, which is part of SOSMA’s First Schedule below:

Accordingly, should the perpetrator be tried under SOSMA, bail would not be granted as per Section 13 of the Act here:

Of course, these are all hypothetical and depend on the results of the investigation and the motives behind the appalling attacks. Accordingly, let’s hope that PDRM will catch all the perpetrators behind these incidents soon and bring them to justice.

In the meantime, it is important for members of the public to remain calm and not act beyond the limits of the law, as well as give space to existing legal processes

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