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Debate during ‘Musang King’ trial over identity protection

In a turn of events last week, the much-anticipated ‘Musang King’ trial, set to resume on June 3, witnessed a heated debate surrounding the disclosure of intelligence officers’ identities. Led by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Hajah Suriana binti Haji Radin, the prosecution defended the need for non-disclosure, citing grave concerns over national security.

Presided over by Judicial Commissioner Muhammed Faisal bin Pehin Datu Juragan Laila Diraja Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Kefli and Intermediate Court Judge Radin Safiee bin Radin Mas Basiuni, the legal spectacle unfolded as defence counsels, representing the accused persons, pushed for the revelation of intelligence officers’ identities, claiming it crucial for a fair trial and public interest.

The defence argued that the intelligence officers have provided briefing to the head of operation prior to the operation at the scene of crime which became the foundation of the operation as well as directly participating in the operation at the scene leading for the defence to submit that the disclosure of their identities was crucial to a fair trial and public interest to be called as defence witnesses.

However, the prosecution argued that divulging such information could jeopardise vital operational tactics employed by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) intelligence officers, potentially compromising national security.

The prosecution asserted that the NCB’s mission to combat drug trafficking and illicit drug abuse hinges on the effectiveness of its intelligence branch.

The prosecution added that revealing the identities of the officers poses an imminent threat to operational strategies.

The court sided with the prosecution, dismissing the defence’s plea for disclosure to safeguard the identities of intelligence officers and uphold public interest.

The trial, featuring seven charges under the Misuse of Drugs Act and the Criminal Asset Recovery Order (CARO), alleges the defendants’ involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering schemes, with penalties ranging from the death penalty to lengthy prison terms and substantial fines.

The prosecution team also involves DPP Dayangku Didi-Nuraza Pengiran Abdul Latiff, Siti Khalillah Hussin, Syafina Abdul Hadzid, Ruzana Adnan, and Hanan Erwan.

On the defence side, counsels Pengiran Shahyzul Pengiran Abdul Rahman represented Jakaria bin Ahad, Lenny Rahman for Siti Izzatul Munirah binti Ahmad, Daud Ismail for Isamuddin bin Ahmad, Mohd Shazale Salleh for Ahmad bin Haji Tamit, Sharah Abdul Hamid for Maskunah binti Wahab, and Mansur Latif for Saifuddin bin Ahmad. – Fadley Faisal