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TAIPING: Mat Saad Isa, a co-accused who turned prosecution witness in the murder trial of Hasleza Ishak (the Raja di-Hilir Perak’s second wife) told the High Court Monday that it was Raja Mahani (the first wife) who wanted Hasleza killed.
The 49-year-old padi planter said bomoh Rahim Ismail, 47, told him in September that Raja Mahani (Raja Nor Mahani Raja Shahar Shah) was the one who had asked for Hasleza to be killed.
He said Rahim asked him to kill Hasleza because efforts to seek spells to kill her from here, Indonesia and Thailand had failed.
“I told him I did not want to kill the woman but he assured me that it was all right to kill as orang raja-raja (members of the royal family) would protect me,” he said, adding that one of the reasons he did not want to do it was that he had nine children to care for.
At one juncture Rahim’s counsel, Gurbachan Singh, objected to the admissibility of the statement saying that its truth had not been ascertained.
Justice Mohd Noor Abdullah ruled that the “statement was merely there to show the chain of events and not as proof of fact that Raja Mahani had indeed said those words to Rahim.”
Mat Saad, now serving a 14-year jail sentence after admitting to a lesser offence of causing Hasleza’s death, was testifying at the trial of carpenter Sabarudin Non, 34, and fisherman J. Manimaran, 27, both from Tanjung Piandang, who are jointly charged with murdering Hasleza, 26, between 6pm and 11pm at the Km63 Jalan Sumpitan, in the Larut Matang and Selama district here on Oct 6, last year.
Rahim, from Tanjung Piandang, and palace aide Tengku Aristonsjah Tengku Mohamad Ansary, 41, from Kamunting, are jointly tried for abetting the murder.
Murder and its abetment carry a mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
Mat Saad, who later identified all the four accused in the dock, said Rahim tried to persuade him on several occasions to carry out the hit on Hasleza but he declined.
He said Rahim showed him photographs of Hasleza, her house and car.
“He showed me a photograph of Raja Mahani and said she wanted Hasleza dead,” he said.
Mat Saad said he followed Rahim to meet Tengku Aristonsjah, who claimed to be Raja Mahani’s private secretary, and was shown the location of Hasleza’s house.
“I told Tengku Aris that it was not easy to kill a person. He told me it was simple, just kill and throw (the body) anywhere. He said there were many isolated roads in Grik,” said Mat Saad.
He said Rahim later rebuked him for being stupid in hesitating to carry out the hit, as Tengku Aris had brought “the money.”
He added that Rahim also tried to persuade him to carry out the task, telling him not to fear as the “Raja’s people” would “cover” him.
“I told him not to trust such people so much, but he told me that even the police were afraid of them,” he said, adding that he was not convinced.
He said Sabarudin and Manimaran came to see him a few days later, and he told them about the hit job.
One or two days later, all three got into Sabarudin’s car and went to survey Hasleza’s house and found that she was staying with another woman and a child.
“I called Rahim and he said that since we were already there, to finish off all three of them. He said not to worry, kami tanggung (we will take responsibility). I told him no,” he said.
At this juncture, Gurbachan Singh objected to the admissibility of Mat Saad evidence to which Justice Mohd Noor ruled that he would not attach too much weight on the evidence especially the part not related to Hasleza.
Mat Saad: “A few days later, around Oct 3 or Oct 4, Rahim told me that he would not be responsible if anything happened to me if I did not do the job, and reminded me that I knew too much of the Raja-raja’s secrets and the orang-orang Raja could give my family problems.
“I told him to leave but later started worrying about the safety of my children, six of whom are still studying, and felt that I had better carry out the job after all.”
He said he finally agreed to carry out the job on Oct 5.
On Oct 6, he, Sabarudin and Manimaran went to Hasleza’s house and abducted her when she drove out.
“Her car stopped in front of our car. She wound down the window and shouted Bodoh, tak erti bawa kereta (Stupid, can’t drive properly).
“I got down and went to her but she wound up the window. I struck the window with my bare hand. The glass shattered.
“Manimaran and I dragged her out of the car. She shouted ‘help’ three times.
“As I was trying to shove her onto the backseat of Sabarudin’s car, Hasleza asked why I was abducting her, since I had done so once before and confined her for nine days,” Mat Saad said, adding that he did not know what she meant.
Mat Saad said he contacted Rahim and asked what to do next but Rahim reminded him that Tengku Aris had already given the instructions. So, they went around looking for an isolated road in Grik to dump Hasleza’s body.
They finally reached a bridge at 10pm in Jalan Sumpitan where Mat Saad and the other two men got out from the car, leaving Hasleza inside, to discuss their next course of action.
“We wanted to throw her off the bridge but dared not because she was still conscious. So we wanted to knock her out. We opened the car door and asked her to come out. When she emerged, all three of us held her tightly, hoping she would faint.
“Just then, two motorcycles passed by and I quickly struck the back of her neck with my left hand. She collapsed but as the motorcycles came closer, she called out loudly for help. The motorcyclists buat tak tahu (ignored),” he said.
Mat Saad said the three of them then “grabbed her tightly until she became unconscious.”
Theythen pushed Hasleza’s body over the side of the bridge and went home.
Mat Saad said he phoned Rahim to tell him that the job had been completed and was told that he would be paid RM7,000 by Tengku Aris. Sabarudin and Manimaran are represented by counsel A. Thanasekharan and N. Ahilan, Rahim by Gurbachan Singh and Amrit Pal Singh, and Tengku Aristonsjah by Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and M. Kirubanandan.
The deputy public prosecutors are Nordin Hassan, Shahidani Abdul Aziz, Chew Soo Ho and Masri Mohd Daud.
The hearing continues today.
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