Monday, December 3, 2007

Munirah ‘was duped’

The Star - 03/12/2007

KUALA LUMPUR: The mother of Raja Munirah Raja Iskandar, who was sentenced to seven years' jail by a Japanese court for attempting to smuggle drugs, believes that her daughter was hoodwinked by an Iranian man.

Karimah Mamat, 46, said the Iranian man whom she knew as Milad, had offered Munirah a monthly salary of about RM9,000 if she took up a job as a public relations officer with his company in Japan.

Munirah: Pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle 690gm of syabu at the Narita International Airport last year.

He also came to my house several times and I thought he was a good man. He even arranged everything for her because I did not have the money to send her to Japan,” she said.

A day before Munirah left for Japan for the interview, Milad came to her house and told Munirah, who had initially planned to carry a big suitcase, that it was better for her to bring a smaller one, she said.

He also agreed to lend Munirah his bag, Karimah said.

“I am sure my daughter was hoodwinked. I know my daughter. She spends her holidays at home with her younger siblings. She is not a person who likes to party or socialise,” she said.

Raja Munirah, 22, is a mass communications student at a private college here.

She was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty, on her counsel's advice, to attempting to smuggle 690gm of syabu at the Narita International Airport in Tokyo, on Dec 20 last year.

Her appeal will be heard tomorrow.

“At first, it was difficult for me to let her go but because we needed money at the time to pay for house and car instalments and other bills, I finally agreed,” Karimah said.

Munirah decided to quit college because her tuition fees were high. Had she landed the job, she would have been able to help her siblings Raja Nazrin Shah, 18; Raja Maizurah, 15; Raja Ridzuan Shah, 10; and Raja Daniel Shah, three, Karimah said.

Munirah's lawyer, Rosal Azimin Ahmad, said Japanese businessman Takashi Kato, 58 and his wife, Kaoru Kato, 52, had offered to help Munirah in any way they could, including acting as interpreters during the appeal hearing.

“Munirah's lawyer in Japan, Nishiguchi, does not speak English.”

Asked on Munirah's chances of winning, Rosal said: “50-50 but anything is possible. – Bernama


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