Zahid's son-in-law's death: Appeals court upholds RM220,000 fine on dental centre

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal here on Thursday (Nov 10) upheld the RM220,000 fine imposed on Imperial Dental Specialist Sdn Bhd after it was found guilty on four charges in connection with the death of Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s son-in-law Datuk Syed Alman Zain Syed Alwi during dental treatment six years ago.

A three-member panel of the court led by Datuk Hanipah Farikullah unanimously dismissed the final appeal of the dental specialist centre, which was represented by a member of its board of directors, Dr Alice Wong Yen Lin, 50, to set aside the decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Jan 9, 2020.

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In her judgment, Hanipah said based on the examination of the court and arguments of the parties, the court found that the appeal was without merit.

“We think that the Kuala Lumpur High Court judge is not wrong in the findings. So, the conviction of the appellant is safe.

“We also found that based on the principle of sentencing, the fine imposed by the High Court judge is not manifestly excessive," said Hanipah, who sat with judges Datuk Hashim Hamzah and Datuk Azman Abdullah.

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Deputy Public Prosecutors Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar and Dhiya Syazwani Izyan Mohd Akhir prosecuted the case while lawyers P. Sreekant and Raja Eillen Soraya Raja Aman represented the dental specialist centre.

The Sessions Court, on Dec 14, 2018, found the practice guilty of all five charges related to Syed Alman Zain's death and imposed a RM320,000 fine on the company.

For the first and second charges, the person summonsed (OKS), as the licence holder, was alleged to have failed to ensure that Noor Azima Muhamad Nuwi, 26, was qualified to conduct an orthopantomogram on Syed Alman Zain and also failed to keep and maintain an "Employees Register".

For the third charge, the centre was accused of failing to provide the necessary measures to save Syed Alman Zain’s life, namely by not providing oxygen.

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For the fourth charge, the centre was alleged to have failed to submit to the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) – which received the patient under emergency transfer – a copy of all the patient’s medical records required under Section 31(1)(d) of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998.

For the fifth count, the centre was charged with failing to take adequate steps to protect healthcare professionals and the clinic’s environment against biological hazards, as required under Rule 49(5) of the Private Healthcare Facilities & Services (Private Hospitals and Other Private Healthcare Facilities) Regulations 2006.

All the offences were committed at a clinic located on Jalan Telawi in Bangsar Baru here from 6pm to 9.05pm between May 26 and June 2, 2016.

However, the High Court acquitted the dental specialist centre of the second charge and upheld the conviction on the other four charges but lowered the fine to RM220,000.

Syed Alman Zain, husband of Ahmad Zahid's eldest daughter Nurulhidayah, reportedly became unconscious while undergoing treatment at the dental centre, and was referred to UMMC before being confirmed dead. - Bernama

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