Ex-IGP: Lack of leads led to delayed police action

Ex-IGP: Lack of leads led to delayed police action

PUTRAJAYA: Former Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar justified the delay in police action after discovering the Wang Kelian human trafficking camps and mass graves in January 2015 to lack of leads to continue investigation.

“We couldn’t confirm if the location was in Malaysia or Thailand. So I instructed (Datuk) Zul Aznam (Haron) find out, because we didn’t want to act beyond our border, or it will be against the law,” he said in reference to the Perlis police chief.

“And when I asked him what information he had on the transit camps and grave-like structures; he did not provide me with any. So, my instruction then was to get more details about the discovery and who was involved. That was why I told him to ‘hold on’,” he said at the royal commission of inquiry on the Wang Kelian mass graves.

Last month, Zul Aznam told the RCI that he was specifically ordered by Khalid to “hold on” all investigations, and that he believed at that time that Bukit Aman would pursue the matter.

The RCI panellists had raised doubts and questioned Khalid why it took the police until May 2015 before the bodies of the human trafficking victims were eventually exhumed from the makeshift graves. It was also not until March that year that further arrests were made.

The RCI chairman Tun Arifin Zakaria had also questioned the delay on the part of the police to determine if the camps and graves were in Malaysia, arguing the matter could be confirmed within hours.

Having defended the delay, Khalid also said that he was unsatisfied with the job done by the Perlis police force on this case.

The matter was made more complicated as then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was concerned.

“When I asked for information and wasn’t given one, of course I was not happy at that time. He (Zul Aznam) knows I was not satisfied too,” he said.

“The prime minister in particular was very concerned if our authorities were involved, because several Thai authorities were detained in their country. But until today, we are still unable to prove that our men had any involvement,” he said.

The former top cop also admitted that there is a need to improve border security measures as the Wang Kelian case proved there are weaknesses.

Khalid also maintained that the police was successful in the case of Wang Kelian since the police managed to uncover a large-scale cross border crime to ensure it does not repeat in the future.

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