TAWAU: Five Malaysians, including a Datuk, are coming home today after spending two months and three days in jail for entering Indonesia illegally.
They also paid a fine of two million rupiah (RM800) imposed on each of them.
Their jail sentence was exactly the number of days they had been detained since their arrest at Pulau Sebatik on March 30.
Dont forget this. Let this be a lesson for entering Indonesia without proper documents, East Kalimantans Tarakan island court Chief Judge R. Potongloan told the five when sentencing them yesterday.
The prosecution had called for a four-month jail term but the judge decided that the amount of time they had spent in detention was sufficient.
On hearing the verdict, the five Sabahans from the east coast town of Semporna were visibly relieved that they could go home.
The five were former native chief Datuk Malili Mali, 63, politician Harman Muhamad, 48, telecommunications company employees Akil Hamarudin, 51, and Dawan Tasau, 33, and Harmans driver Musa Jaafar, 33.
Malaysian Consulate police liaison officer Asst Supt Wan Badrul Hamin Wan Mohamad who accompanied them to court expected their deportation papers to be processed in a day to enable them to return to Tawau by noon today.
On May 9, all five pleaded guilty in the Tarakan court to charges of illegal entry but the court had postponed sentencing till yesterday.
Harman who had a passport but no entry permit faced a sentence of up to three years jail and a fine of 30million rupiah (RM15,000).
The rest faced a maximum sentence of five years jail and a fine of 30million rupiah for illegal entry without any travel documents.
All five, who were treated well in custody and not handcuffed when produced in court, had claimed that their boat was blown off course into the Indonesian side of Pulau Sebatik during rough weather that day.
They spent the night in a hotel after landing near Sungai Nyamuk on Pulau Sebatik when Indonesian authorities detained them for illegal entry.