MANILA – A resident of Penang, Malaysia on Monday surrendered to authorities after being accused of funding the Filipino militants who entered Sabah nearly two months ago to revive a centuries-old claim to the resource-rich territory.
Datuk Seri Muhammad Ridzwan Sulaiman, Al-Ehsan Islamiah charity foundation president, surrendered to Malaysian authorities in Ampang Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, a report from Malaysia's "The Star Online" said.
Muhammad Ridzwan admitted to talking and giving money to a member of the Kiram clan, a certain Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram, one of the claimants to the throne of the Sulu sultanate.
Muhammad Ridzwan, who hails from George Town in Penang, said he met Muedzul Lail Tan Kiram last September 15 and 16, a separate report by Malaysian news agency Bernama said.
Muhammad Ridzwan, however, denied having any links to Jamalul Kiram III, the self-style leader who sent some 200 soldiers to Lahad Datu in Sabah to assert his ownership of the territory.
Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said Muhammad Ridzwan could help police in their investigation into the incursion.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar earlier said several individuals were under surveillance and would be arrested for treason for allegedly sending money to Filipino militants.
If convicted, these individuals could face life imprisonment or even death for committing treason.