Ex-IGP halted probe on Wang Kelian site, ex-cop tells RCI

Zulhaznam said former IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar ordered a halt in investigations into the Wang Kelian human trafficking camps and mass graves. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Zulhaznam said former IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar ordered a halt in investigations into the Wang Kelian human trafficking camps and mass graves. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

PUTRAJAYA, April 24 — Former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar gave specific orders to stall investigations into the discovery of human trafficking camps and gravesites in Wang Kelian, a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) was told today.

Former Perlis police chief Datuk Zulhaznam Harun, the RCI’s 16th witness, said he rang up Khalid to alert him as soon as he himself was briefed on the situation in Wang Kelian by his deputy, Assistant Commissioner MD Zukir Md Isa, on January 20, 2015.

Zulhaznam said he informed Khalid through the phone call of the discovery of camps and structures that resembled makeshift graves while updating him that 38 illegal immigrants were arrested from a survey operation conducted on the site the day before.

“The exact words he used was ‘hold on’, saying more research and preparations were required,” said Zulhaznam when asked by Conducting Officer Khairul Anuar Abd Halim on what was Khalid’s response.

“He (Khalid) also said the case would have a big impact on the country as it also involved foreign nationals,” he said,  

Today is the fifth day of public hearings for the RCI, chaired by former Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria and assisted by former IGP Tan Sri Norian Mai, along with six others.

Proceedings today saw Zulhaznam getting involved in a squabble with panel member and former Suhakam chief commissioner, Tan Sri Razali Ismail, after the latter accused the police of committing a tactical error with their sluggish reactions in handling the investigations.

Razali claimed that while some officers saw their initial arrest of 38 foreigners as a success and catalyst to the eventual discovery of the entire campsite, it should not be considered a victory.

He said this was because no perpetrators were arrested during that operations, and further chided and then denounced the level of professionalism within the force over their lack of information into the trafficking syndicates, forcing Zulhaznam to react.

“Tan Sri, when someone touches on the professionalism of the police, that is when I feel I have to speak up. As a retired policemen, I understand how the police do their work, maybe Tan Sri is the one who doesn’t understand.

“To me, leave it to the police, we know what we are doing,” he said.

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