Cop recounts three meetings with Sulu prince in Tanduo
KOTA KINABALU: In the trial of a policeman for failing to submit information relating to terrorism acts yesterday, a senior police officer testified that he met the self-styled crown prince of the Sultanate of Sulu, Datu Agbimuddin Kiram, thrice to inform him that he (Datu Agbimuddin) had violated the sovereignty of Malaysia.
Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) Zulkifli Abd Aziz, 53, told High Court judge Ravinthran N. Paramaguru that the meetings between him and Agbimuddin were held at a house in Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu.
“The first meeting was on February 14, 2013 at 2pm. I, together with my two personnel, namely, Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Zulhani Borhan and Corporal Salsagap, went to meet Agbimuddin after I managed to call him the next day after reaching Lahad Datu on February 13, 2013,” he testified during examination-in-chief by DPP Dato’ Nordin Hassan in the trial of the accused, detective corporal Hassan Hj Ali Basari, 58.
The accused, who was attached to the police special branch in Lahad Datu, is alleged to have committed the offence at the office of the special branch chief at Lahad Datu police station between January and March, 2013.
The offence under Section 130M of the Penal Code carries for a maximum jail of seven years or with a fine, or both, on conviction.
To a question from Nordin, the fourth prosecution witness recalled that during the first meeting he had informed Agbimuddin that his action to intrude into Kampung Tanduo with his followers was against Malaysian laws.
“After explaining to Agbimuddin, he thanked me for taking care of Sabah for the past 50 years and said that now is his turn to take care of Sabah,” said Zulkifli, who was then deputy chief of Sabah Special Branch 1.
Zulkifli, who is now the ESSCOM intelligence chief of staff, recalled further that during the first meeting Agbimuddin had given him five documents.
“After he gave me the five documents (which were tendered to the court and marked as exhibits), Agbimuddin said, he would not leave Kampung Tanduo until his brothers, namely, Datu Jamalul Kiram and Datu Ismail Kiram, told him to do so, as civilians had no authority to give him any instructions,” he said.
To another question from Nordin, Zulkifli testified that during their second meeting on February 15, 2013, at 11am, he, together with Datuk Rashid, ASP Noraidin, Inspector Yusri and corporal Salsagap had again advised Agbimuddin and his followers to leave Sabah.
“His response was the same and he said that he is a prince and only his brothers have the authority to tell him to leave Sabah,” Zulkifli recalled, adding that several documents were also given to him during the meeting.
On the third meeting, he said, they again failed to persuade Agbimuddin to leave Sabah immediately before any bloodshed happened and Agbimuddin replied that for them to die is just an ordinary thing as Sabah belonged to the Sultanate of Sulu.
“After that, I met the Sabah Police Chief to discuss this matter and I gave him a suggestion to resolve this crisis by scattering safe passage brochures in the area where Agbimuddin and his followers stayed to ask them to surrender,” he testified further, but none of them surrendered.
Zulkifli recalled that at the time Kampung Tanduo was under tight security where the area was guarded by Royal Sulu Force (RSF), who wore camouflage uniform, and armed with various weapons like M16, M14, Garren, Carbin, pistol and machetes.
In response to another question from Nordin, he said he had never revealed any information in the documentary exhibits orally or written.
He said the information in these documents involved national security.
When asked whether information obtained from several telephone interceptions had been submitted to him, he repleid: “That information was too important but I was never informed about it.”