GEORGE TOWN: A permanent resident told a High Court here that he was unaware that the two boxes with three stain- less steel containers he was carrying from New Delhi to Penang contained 12,133gm of ketamine.
Habeeb Nashtar Abdul Mutalif (pic), 51, a restaurant worker from Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, said he left for a missionary trip (tabligh) to New Delhi on March 14 last year, and met a person by the name of Sulaiman who was among a group of people in the tabligh.
Habeeb, who was born in Tamil Nadu, India, and came to Malaysia in 1966 when he was seven and is now a permanent resident here, said out of the ten people, six spoke Hindi, while the other four spoke Ta-mil.
“Since I could not speak Hindi, I was drawn closer to those who spoke Tamil.
“During the five-day stay at a mosque in New Delhi, Sulaiman asked me to carry back some stainless steel products to a coffee shop in Penang.
“I agreed and told him to bring the goods straight to the New Delhi airport on the day I was returning to Malaysia,” he said when making his defence from the witness stand.
Hebeeb, who was represented by V. Jeevaretnam, was arrested on March 19, last year at the Penang International Airport arrival hall’s for allegedly trafficking in ketamine.
He said upon scanning the boxes, the Customs officers took the boxes to a special room and forced open one of the containers.
“I was then handcuffed and taken to the state Customs Department. The officers then opened the other containers, and for the first time, I saw a substance resembling detergent.”
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nor Ariffin Hisham questioned why Habeeb did not take the contact number of the person or persons who were supposed to collect the boxes.
“Without knowing the background of Sulaiman such as his occupation, where he lived in Tamil Nadu and about his family, you were willing to carry back the items to Malaysia for him,” he said.
“You know this person for just five days and you were willing to do this for him?
“I put it to you that you knew the contents in the containers and that whole thing was planned by Sulaiman and yourself,” he added.
Judicial Commissioner Nurma-la Salim then asked Habeeb the cost of his flight tickets from Kuala Lumpur to India, and from New Dehli to Penang. Habeeb estimated the cost at RM2,400.
The court fixed Oct 27 for submissions and decision.