Wang Kelian RCI: I don’t know why we were slow to act, says witness

A policeman watches over abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border at Bukit Wang Kelian in northern Malaysia May 26, 2015. — Reuters pic
A policeman watches over abandoned human trafficking camp in the jungle close the Thailand border at Bukit Wang Kelian in northern Malaysia May 26, 2015. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Former Padang Besar district police chief Supt Rizani Che Ismail, who was involved in investigations following the discovery of temporary transit camps and mass graves at Wang Kelian, Perlis, today admitted police were slow in taking action and addressing the case in 2015.

The 12th witness in the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) however believed this was because the police top brass viewed the case as sensitive as it concerned two countries and the matter should be dealt with caution.

“Personally I think the top brass considered this case as an international issue and bilateral relations between the two countries should be maintained.

“To me this is quite a big and sensational case but I do not know why we were slow to act,” he said when questioned by RCI deputy chairman Tan Sri Norian Mai whether he agreed that the Padang Besar IPD, Perlis and Bukit Aman police contingents seemed to be hardly shocked by the discovery.

Rizani, who had served at the Padang Besar IPD for two years beginning from 2014 also told the inquiry he was never contacted by anyone from Bukit Aman for information on the case until the 'Op Wawasan Khas' was launched on May 25, 2015.

When asked if he agreed that the police were slow to act as they wanted to cover their weaknesses and did not want this to become public knowledge, Rizani, who is now Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department technical assistance division (D6) assistant director, disagreed with the assumption as he had furnished Bukit Aman with all the information.

“I disagree because at the Perlis state level we had referred to Bukit Aman and were only waiting for instructions.

“At that time, with a force of 28 officers and 269 members, I was just waiting for the green light to go ahead with the operation,” he said in reply to a question from a RCI panel member Datuk Noobahri Baharuddin who is also former head of prosecution in the Attorney-General’s Chamber.

Rizani also told the inquiry that he received direct instructions from the Perlis police chief not to proceed with further investigations after digging one of the 25 grave-like structures at Bukit Wang Burma on March 6, 2015.

The RCI public hearing continues tomorrow. — Bernama

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