SHAH ALAM — 12-year-old Aiman bin Ali Wahab has claimed that he was ‘approached’ by two individuals, who offered him a cash reward and a trip to Tokyo Disneyland, in return for him putting in more effort into his studies and do well in his UPSR examinations later this year. The alleged incident took place as Aiman was watching an episode of his favourite show, Spongebob Squarepants at his home yesterday.
“I was minding my own business, laughing at Patrick (the supposedly brainless starfish character) as he got his mouth stapled shut, when someone suddenly turned off the television,” said Aiman, evidently still shaken by the event. “I looked around, and the two adults sat down in front of me without being invited. They looked like they had something important to discuss with me. I had no idea what they wanted at first.”
The two suspects, identified as Ali Wahab bin Manan, 35, and his wife Siti Rokiah Abdul Samad, 34, then began a conversation that Aiman said ‘was out of the ordinary, persuasive in nature’.
“It started innocently enough, asking how I was doing in school, and whether I had enough exercise books,” said Aiman. “But then it started getting weird. The male suspect, whom I refer to as ‘Abah’, began turning serious, inquiring whether I was prepared to sit for my UPSR. I felt that my personal space was being violated at that point.
“Then the female companion, whom I call ‘Mak’, started telling me how my younger siblings look up to me, being the firstborn and all. It was getting very awkward, really.”
The normally jovial Aiman described how the conversation turned from awkward, to dangerous the next moment.
“Abah then dropped the bombshell,” said the 12-year-old, who lists Wii and reading comics as his favourite pastime. “He said to me — and I remember it word-for-word — ‘Kalau Aiman dapat 5A, Abah kasi RM500. Lepas tu kita boleh pergi Tokyo Disneyland’ (If you get 5As, I’ll give you RM500. Then we’ll all go to Tokyo Disneyland).
“I was speechless.”
Stunned by the bribery offer, Aiman asked for confirmation. But this time, he was ready for the answer. He reached inside his pants pocket to activate his handphone’s ‘voice recording’ function.
“I got everything on record. Even Mak’s effort to ‘sweeten’ the deal by promising to throw a big celebratory party,” said Aiman, with a disappointed expression. “I’ve given a copy of this recording to the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) for further action. I’m sorry, but though I’m a kid, and I love them, I know bribing’s a crime. Shame on them. And now they’ll have to face the music.”
Asked how this incident would affect his UPSR preparations, Aiman said that he’s mature enough to put this ugly episode behind him.
“They may think they’re doing this for my own good, but they should know that they’d be doing more harm than good,” said Aiman thoughtfully. “They’re ruining the experience, nay, the whole objective, of taking UPSR.
“They should just let me study for my exam for the sake of the exam itself, and not for some extrinsic reward like money or vacation. It robs me of the right motivation,” he said, before going back to another episode of Spongebob Squarepants.