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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Yong: Missing star witness of Sulu gunmen intrusion trial, a cause for concern

KOTA KINABALU - The failure of the prosecution to produce the star witness of the ongoing trial of the alleged Sulu gunmen intrusion at Tanduo is a cause for concern, said former chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

According to news reports, the prosecution in the trial of 30 accused persons, who are alleged to be involved in the February 2013 armed intrusion at Tanduo, Lahad Datu has failed to locate and subpoena one SAC Zulkifli Hj. Abd Aziz, who was at the time, the assistant head of the Sabah Special Branch of the police force, to give evidence at the trial.

SAC Zulkifli is reported to have "served in Sabah for a long period, had great and specific knowledge on Sulu sultanate and had personal contacts in Southern Philippines" and "had handled all kidnapping cases in Sabah in terms of intelligence for the past 15 years" and "led the negotiations between Malaysian authorities and the Sulu gunmen's leader in Kampong Tanduo."

The High Court had in December last year granted more time for the prosecution to locate and subpoena SAC Zulkifli. As the prosecution was still unable to produce Zulkifli in court yesterday, the prosecution had to complete its case without the benefit of the evidence of its star witness.

Yong said Zulkifli was a senior cop who retired only in November 2014, according to news reports.

"He is not a stranger to the police force. He was supposed to be the star witness in a very important criminal trial which has been going on for two years. How could it be so difficult to locate and subpoena him? Therefore, I find the case of this missing star witness a cause for concern," Yong told.

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