Wang Kelian RCI: Proceeding briefly held behind closed doors

Tun Arifin Zakaria is pictured during the Wang Kelian RCI’s first hearing at the Home Ministry in Putrajaya April 17, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Tun Arifin Zakaria is pictured during the Wang Kelian RCI’s first hearing at the Home Ministry in Putrajaya April 17, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, April 22 — The public hearing session of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the discovery of temporary settlements and mass graves in Wang Kelian, Perlis today, was briefly held behind closed doors when the names of 11 locals suspected of being ‘runners’ in human trafficking activities were presented.

The RCI’s seventh witness, ASP Jamalludin Shah Mohd Jawan, when asked to look at the list of names, confirmed that some of those on the list were under the observation of the Padang Besar Police Headquarter’s (IPD) special branch.

“This is not new information for the Padang Besar IPD. All those who have been named are suspected of being runners (in smuggling in foreign immigrants),” said Jamalluddin, who is also the former acting chief of the Padang Besar IPD special branch.

Jamalludin Shah also told the RCI that reports by the special branch regarding the human trafficking activities on the Malaysia-Thailand border were categorised as ‘Rahsia’ (secret) and ‘Rahsia Besar’ (big secret) and involved information affecting national security.

At the time, RCI chairman, former Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, urged media representatives and the public to leave the RCI proceeding room for it to be conducted privately for about 30 minutes.

After the media was allowed in again, the eighth witness, police pensioner Abdul Rahman Kashim, who was the former Kaki Bukit Police Station chief from 2005 to 2014, began his testimony.

Also testifying in the afternoon session was the ninth witness, Corporal Roshaidi Hussin who has been serving at the Wang Kelian Police Station in Perlis from 2012 to date.

The final witness today was Sub Inspector (B) Zainuddin Hussin, who was also the police chief of the Kaki Bukit Police Station from January 2015 to June 2016.

All three in their respective statements said they didn’t know about the settlements and mass graves in Wang Kelian before the General Operations Force (PGA) discovered the location in January 2015.

They said their scope of duties only covered patrolling and arresting criminals and illegal immigrants in the Wang Kelian housing areas, villages, Felcra Lubuk Sireh, Padang Besar and Wang Kelian, while the forest areas were handled by the PGA.

The public hearing continues tomorrow. — Bernama