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Slaying in Malay Royal House Mired in Scandal

Raja's first wife is held for questioning but not charged in the death of his second spouse.

October 26, 2002|From Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — When the young and beautiful second wife of a raja who is second in line to the throne of Perak state was found dead and bound at the foot of a waterfall, the case had a whiff of royal intrigue.

The mystery erupted into full-blown royal scandal Friday after police detained the royal's older first wife, Raja Nor Mahani, for questioning about the slaying this month.

Malaysian newspapers splashed photographs of Raja Nor being led from court by police after being remanded into custody Thursday. She has not been charged.

About the same time she was detained, five suspects in another court were charged with murder or assisting in murder in the death of Hazliza Ishak.

Hazliza, a 26-year-old former model and aspiring actress, married Raja Jaafar Raja Muda Musa in January in southern Thailand, becoming the Perak royal's second wife after Raja Nor, 60, a former schoolteacher.

Raja Jaafar, 62, is second in line to become Perak's sultan under Malaysia's complicated ascension process. Nine of Malaysia's 13 states have a sultan, a position that carries no lawmaking power but great wealth and reverence.

Hazliza's body was found, with hands and feet tied, on Oct. 11, and police said they believed she had been strangled before being thrown from a bridge.

Charged with murder Thursday were Mat Saad Mat Isa, a farmer; Sabarudin Non, a carpenter, and fisherman J. Manimaran.

An employee at Raja Jaafar's palace, Aristonsjah Tengku Mohamad Ansany, and Rahim Ismail, who is unemployed, were charged with abetting murder.

The suspects, who face the death penalty if convicted, did not enter pleas during Thursday's hearing.

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