Special Branch officers not trained for abductions, says former IGP

Musa said Special Branch officers are trained primarily for surveillance, making them ill-equipped to plan and carry out abductions. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Musa said Special Branch officers are trained primarily for surveillance, making them ill-equipped to plan and carry out abductions. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — Former top cop Tan Sri Musa Hassan said today Special Branch officers are not trained for hostile engagement, casting doubt on claims that the police intelligence unit was behind Pastor Raymond Koh and activist Amri Che Mat’s disappearance.

The retired inspector general of police said Special Branch personnel are intelligence agents trained primarily for surveillance, making them ill-equipped to plan and carry out abductions.

“No, they are not trained for that,” Musa said in a reply to the Malay Mail.

Earlier today, Suhakam revealed the findings of its inquiry that concluded the abductions of Koh and Amri to be enforced disappearance with the likely involvement of state agents such as the police’s Special Branch.

Commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai said the panel had solid grounds to suspect police involvement based on the testimony of several witnesses, including Amri’s wife, Norhayati Mohd Ariffin.

She told the inquiry late last year that a Special Branch officer had informed her that Koh and Amri’s abduction were carried out by the intelligence unit.

Suhakam said police’s refusal to acknowledge and reclassify Koh’s case from abduction to enforced disappearance also prompted the panel to suspect foul play.

The panel made several recommendations including the formation of a special task force to re-investigate Koh’s disappearance, the separation of powers between the police and religious authorities, and reforming the police’s standard operating procedures (SOP).