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ARKIB : 05/12/2000

Seven Al-Ma'unah members plead guilty to alternative charge


MEMBERS of the Al-Maunah walking out of the High Court after their hearing.- Bernamapix.


KUALA LUMPUR Dec 4 - Seven Al-Ma'unah members today pleaded guilty in the High Court here to an alternative charge of making preparations to wage war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong between last April and July.

They are Megat Mohamed Hanafi Ilias, 25, Muhamad Nukhshah Bandi Che Mansor, 26, Abu Bakar Ismail, 28, Riduan Berahim, 36, Azlan Abdul Ghani, 24, Shahidi Ali, 30 and Khairul Anuar Mohamed Ariffin, 24.

However Judge Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin deferred sentencing to tomorrow to allow mitigation by the seven.

They pleaded guilty to an alternative charge under Section 122 of the Penal Code which carries life imprisonment or maximum 20 years jail and fine.

They were originally charged under Section 121 of the Code which carries the death penalty or imprisonment for natural life and a fine.

Megat Mohamed Hanafi and Muhamad Nukhshah are charged with committing the offence at Bukit Jenalek, Kemajuan Tanah Ngor, Sauk, Mukim Cegar Galah in Kuala Kangsar between last April and July.

The other five are charged with committing the offence in three locations in Perak namely Post 2, Km 19, Kuala Rui, East-West Trunk Road, Gerik, Hulu Perak; Battalion 304, Infantry (Territorial Army), Gerik, Hulu Perak; and Bukit Jenalek during the same period.

The seven are among 14 of the 29 accused for whom the prosecution has put up an alternative charge today.

However, the other seven claimed trial to the alternative charge.

They are Che Sabri Che Jaafar, 30, Suhaimi Hasbullah, 41, Yunus Hussin, 51, Idris Anas, 42, Mohamed Roshdi Yaacub, 42, Zainal Mohamed Jailani, 34 and Mohamed Ramly Mohamood, 46.

Meanwhile, the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah told the court that the prosecution would not prefer the alternative charge on the remaining 15 Al-Ma'unah members.

The 15 Al-Ma'unah members for whom the prosecution did not put the alternative charge are group leader Mohamed Amin Mohamed Razali, 29, Zahit Muslim, 41, Jamaludin Darus, 40, Ibrahim Dris, 44, Jemari Jusoh, 32, Kamarudin Mustafar,40, Abdul Ghani Ali @ Ahmad,34, Mohamed Faudzi Hamdan, 39, Nasruddin Mohd Jailani, 36, Ahmad Sarkawi Sulong, 29, Mohd Zaini Mohd Zainal, 25, Mohd Bukhari Ismail, 28, Md Amin Othman, 41, Aziz Kamaruzailan, 32, and Jasmin Jaafar, 29.

The court had so far heard evidence adduced by 56 prosecution witnesses since hearing began last Sept 11.

When preferring the alternative charge for the 14 members of the group, Mohtar told the court that they were divided into three groups given the difference in the locations of the offence and the facts of the case.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Salehuddin Saidin when submitting the facts of the case said all the accused are members of the " Pertubuhan Persaudaraan Ilmu Dalam Al-Ma'unah (Al-Ma'unah) " originally meant to offer medical treatment, teach martial art and deepen religious knowledge.

Salehuddin said however in early 2000, the society deviated from its original objectives with members becoming more inclined towards setting up an Islamic state.

He said since then Al-Ma'unah members were increasingly exposed to reading materials and lectures on jihad or holy war.

"They are determined and prepared to resort to violence, including committing murder if the government of the day disagrees with their objective," said Salehuddin.

He said the Al-Ma'unah also started recruiting new members through newspapers and the Internet.

Salehuddin said all its members have carried out the tasks allocated to each of them in realising the mission of toppling the government through the use of force and unconstitutional means.

"Each of them is aware and familiar with their mission as dictated by their leader," he said.

Salehuddin said that before July 2000, the seven members who pleaded guilty to the alternative charge, were making thorough preparations either directly or indirectly to realise their mission by:

- collecting food supplies and taking them to their base in Bukit Jenalek, near Sauk in Kuala Kangsar. The food dumps were to keep the base going for about three weeks.

- obtaining military fatigues from various outlets and securing three units of Pajero four-wheel-drive vehicles. They also rented a house in Kati near Kuala Kangsar on June 25, this year to serve as a transit point for the members before they take up positions at the main base in Bukit Jenalek. At this house, they painted the three Pajeros in military green and fixed false military plate numbers.

- collecting weapons such as parang, cross bows for the purpose of their mission.

- undergoing military-style training at the group's training centre in Klang. This was to prepare them physically and impart weapon-handling skills required to stage an uprising against the government and to fight the security forces.

Salehuddin said Megat Mohamed Hanafi and Muhamad Nukhshah Bandi were trained to use weapons which the other Al-Ma'unah members seized from Camp 304 and Post 2 when they assembled at Bukit Jenalek last July 1.

He said the two accused, using seized radio sets, also sent out messages persuading soldiers to join the Al-Ma'unah gang and accomplish its mission but the military refused to cooperate.

He said the duo had also turned their base in Bukit Jenalek into a fortress that could repel attacks.

"Trenches were dug out at virtually all strategic locations at the base with the seized GPMGs (general purpose machine guns) mounted and primed for firing," said Salehuddin.

Salehuddin said the duo also took hostage four people namely two policemen, a soldier and a civilian. Two of the captives were later shot dead.

Salehuddin told the court that the group's expressed desire to bring down the government was evident by the radio messages it transmitted on July 3 and 4.

The messages, among others, were, "Mujahidin Malaysia, surrounds Kuala Lumpur if demands not met; "PM resign within 24 hours" and "We only want to grab the PM and the cops".

As for Abu Bakar, Riduan and Azlan who make up the second group, Salehuddin said after setting up base in Bukit Jenalek, 20 Al-Ma'unah members, including the trio, entered Post 2 in Kuala Rui and Camp 304 in Gerik using the three Pajeros.

They took away a huge cache of firearms and ammunition, including 97 M16 assault rifles, four GPMGs, five grenade launchers, 9,095 rounds of 5.56mm and 60 rounds of 40mm ammunition, Salehuddin said.

All the accused gained entry into the camp and post by posing as soldiers in army fatigues. Some of them impersonated officers and tricked the soldiers there into believing that an armoury surprise check was being conducted.

"By the using the three Pajeros which they had painted in military green as mentioned earlier, they seized an assortment of firearms of various types, thousands of ammunition, communications equipment and an array of other military equipment," he said.

Salehudin said all the accused were later given a firearm each from the seized cache for use to mount and accomplish their mission.

As for the third group,involving Shahidi and Khairul Anuar, Salehuddin said after the arms heist in Gerik and Kuala Rui, they headed for the Carlsberg brewery in Shah Alam, the Hindu temple in Batu Caves, and the Guinness Anchor Berhad brewery in Jalan Kelang Lama in Petaling Jaya, all in Selangor, and used the grenade launcher at these targets.

"Both Shahidi and Khairul Anuar staged the shooting at the Carlsberg plant in Shah Alam while Shahidi was alone when he fired at the Batu Caves temple and at Guinness Anchor Berhad," he said.

In summing up, Salehuddin said the meticulous preparations by the seven accused and the other Al-Ma'unah members showed that they were wilfully bent on waging a war against and toppling the government of the day through unlawful means.

"The facts submitted meet all the elements under Section 122 of the Penal Coden and as such they can be convicted under this section," he said.

Meanwhile, Justice Zulkefli ruled that sentencing for the seven who pleaded guilty to the alternative charge would proceed as the prosecution planned to call one of them to give evidence in the hearing for the other 15 Al-Ma'unah members.

Karpal Singh, counsel for Mohamed Amin, said before passing sentence the court should first enquire from both the prosecution and the defence whether they would need to call the accused who have pleaded guilty as witnesses.

He said if neither party required that, then sentencing against the seven accused should be postponed until the completion of the trial against the other 15 accused.

Karpal also said that the prosecution should also specify which witness it was going to call.

However, Mohtar told the court that the prosecution planned to call at least one of them as its witness.

Mohtar added that it was his prerogative to conduct the case.

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