Singapore

Support for jailed Malaysian actor

M'sian actor Tony Eusoff was yesterday jailed eight months for drug possession. Several well-known faces in the S'pore arts scene were in court to give him moral support

Local theatre couple Lim Kay Siu and Neo Swee Lin, Wild Rice artistic director Ivan Heng and Malaysian actor Jehan Miskin were in court yesterday.

They were there to give moral support to Malaysian actor Tony Eusoff.

The Sarawak-born celebrity was sentenced to eight months' jail for cannabis possession.

Actor Lim (left), 60, told The New Paper that Eusoff, whose real name is Anthony Joseph Anak Hermas Rajiman, is a "good and responsible" man.

Lim grew close to Eusoff after watching him in 2012 theatrical musical La Cage Aux Folles by local theatre company Wild Rice.

He said: "Of course, I was surprised when I heard, but these things happen. I hope it won't affect his career in the future.

"The most important thing is that he learns from his mistake."

Lim, Neo, Heng, Malaysian actress Tiara Jacquelina and others had provided character references for the 39-year-old, vouching for his good character and vast achievements as an actor.

Some of Eusoff's prolific works - he has acted in nearly 70 TV series and 14 films - include his lead roles in P. Ramlee The Musical in 2013 and 2014 and the two-part biopic Saloma in 2014.

ON CHANNEL 5

He will next be seen as a former army officer in a local 13-episode drama mystery, The Hush, which will air next month on Channel 5. The series was produced in partnership with Weiyu Films.

Court documents showed that Eusoff was charged on the day filming for the TV series ended.

Heng, 52, who worked closely with him in La Cage Aux Folles, called him a "dear and trusted friend" who has "expressed great regret for his misdemeanours".

Heng said he has "no doubt" that Eusoff will learn from this experience.

Actress Neo, 52, said of Eusoff, who is fluent in several languages: "In my opinion, he is irreplaceable and no other artist in Singapore can fill his shoes."

Jehan, who has known him for over a decade, said that Eusoff is upset that he let down people who looked up to him.

Said Jehan: "That eats into him... I think he feels bad about that.

"But I believe he will make amends and I think he will come out a stronger man. We've always been there for him and we'll be there for him when he gets out."

On Wednesday night, Eusoff, who celebrated his birthday on April 3, belatedly thanked his fans on his official Facebook fan page for their well wishes.

In a Facebook post on April 2, Eusoff had pleaded for forgiveness and admitted to his mistake.

"I realise that my actions could result in a negative influence, especially the young generation, and I regret that," he said.

He admitted to owning cannabis mixture

He was travelling to Singapore from Malaysia by bus for an acting job last month when he was arrested for drug possession.

Malaysian actor Anthony Joseph Hermas Rajiman, popularly known as Tony Eusoff, had with him a packet of cannabis mixture.

Yesterday, Eusoff, 39, who is from Sarawak, was jailed eight months for one count of drug possession.

Court papers said Eusoff travelled to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur by coach on March 12 this year.

He sat alone at the penultimate row on the upper deck of the double-decker coach.

Before the coach arrived at Tuas Checkpoint at noon, he removed the packet of cannabis mixture from his luggage and placed it behind the last row of passenger seats, which were empty.

He then got off with his luggage to clear immigration.

DRUGS FOUND

In the meantime, an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officer found the drugs while conducting an inspection of the bus.

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) was alerted.

A CNB officer interviewed the passengers, but all of them denied it was theirs.

It was only after Eusoff was taken to the CNB office at the checkpoint that he admitted to owning the drug packet.

He also said the mixture, which contained no less than 4.56g of cannabis, was for his own consumption.

Yesterday, defence counsel Abraham Vergis said in his 57-page mitigation plea that his client was remorseful for his actions and had cooperated with the authorities.

Mr Vergis also pointed out the actor's contributions to the arts scene in Singapore and Malaysia and said Eusoff was endorsed and supported by many members of the arts scene on both sides of the Causeway.

Mr Vergis submitted to the court testimonials vouching for Eusoff's character from Malaysian and Singaporean actors, a Malaysian director, lecturer and even a businessman.

The maximum penalty for possession is 10 years' jail and a $20,000 fine.- RONALD LOH

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