Monday, March 19, 2018

UMNO-BN attitude, lack of action and 'cover-up'? Bar demands more of government...

One problem that is emerging is the public perception that government seems to be not interested in investigating allegations of crimes committed by possible persons working in government and even 'members of the administration'(Prime Minister and Cabinet), and persecuting the alleged suspects.Officials and police involved in wrongdoing seem to not end up being prosecuted in court. The lack of a proper transparent explanation by the government is also a problem. 

The Malaysian Bar, at its recent AGM, highlights the the discovery of mass graves and “death camps” - whereby about 150 graves were discovered. It highlighted also the contention by New Straits Times that 'there had been a “massive, coordinated cover-up” of the mass graves and “death camps” and the investigations surrounding it'. Read the Resolurion which contains more details.

Resolution Regarding the Discovery of ‘Death Camps’ in Perlis

WHEREAS the Malaysian Bar:

(1) Is outraged by the unprecedented discovery of mass graves and “death camps” within our borders. The more than 150 graves at “death camps” spread across various remote sites in the state of Perlis, near the border with Thailand, as reported by the New Straits Times on 26 May 2015 (Appendix 1) are widely believed to have contained human remains of victims of trafficking or smuggled migrants who died whilst in the custody of traffickers or smugglers.

(2) Is deeply troubled by an article in the New Straits Times on 20 December 2017 (Appendix 2) stating that there had been a “massive, coordinated cover-up” of the mass graves and “death camps” and the investigations surrounding it. The article details various allegations as regards the way in which the discovery was handled as follows:
(a) Two conflicting reports submitted by the police on the events that unfolded on 19 January 2015;

(b) A coordinated cover up involving complicity, collusion, and corruption of law enforcement agencies with syndicates which perpetuate these acts;

(c) That “… there had been some “serious redacting” in reports and papers filed in the course of investigations.”; and

(d) That “… the local middleman, who had been taken into custody had admitted to greasing the palms of personnel in border security agencies to ensure that his operation could continue unmolested.”

(3) Finds that the two New Straits Times articles have resulted in conflicting accounts of the events and raises the following queries:

(a) When exactly were the sites discovered?

(b) When were the graves found?

(c) Why the destruction of the sites was ordered before relevant forensic evidence was extracted?

(d) How long had the sites been in operation?

(4) Notes that several Thai nationals, including politicians and an army general, have been found guilty in Thailand pursuant to investigations initiated by the Thai authorities and sentenced to long periods of imprisonment.1

(5) Is not aware of any reports of any Malaysians charged for these heinous crimes in Malaysia, save for the foreigners already charged and sentenced in court for immigration offences,2 with victims predominantly repatriated. These are crimes that are perpetrated not just by foreigners but in collusion with Malaysian counterparts who have yet to be held to account.3

(6) Notes that Malaysia is obliged to uphold the underlying values of international human rights laws and norms set out in, inter alia, the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (November 2000), the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (December 2000), the Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (December 2000), and the United Nations Against Corruption (October 2003); and regional obligations, namely the ASEAN Convention Against Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (November 2015), all of which the Malaysian Government has voted in favour and/or signed.

(7) Recognises the Government of Malaysia’s commitment to eradicate human trafficking with the implementation of international obligations in the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 and the Pelan Tindakan Kebangsaan Antipemerdagangan Orang (2016-2020) by the Majlis Antipemerdagangan Orang (MAPO”).

(8) Reiterates that no stone should be left unturned in cleaning up our backyard as our international reputation is at stake and this incident remains a stain on the fabric of Malaysia. In light of this, as a nation we need to acknowledge and come to terms with these atrocities that have occurred within our borders and ensure that justice is served.

Therefore it is hereby resolved that:

(A) The Malaysian Bar call upon the Government of Malaysia to take all necessary steps to ensure that such tragedies never recur within our borders, including:
(i) To abide by and uphold the principles of justice, good governance and the rule of law, and to respect, promote and protect the human rights of trafficked persons within Malaysia’s borders;

(ii) To establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry (“RCI”) to investigate the existence of the mass graves and “death camps”, and the allegations of, among others, a cover-up, complicity, collusion, and corruption of law enforcement agencies, and to identify the perpetrators concerned; and

(iii) To adhere to its obligations under international law and thereafter take steps for legal, policy and institutional reform in compliance with the same.

(B) The Malaysian Bar call on the Government of Malaysia, and specifically the Ministry of Home Affairs, to better resource the implementation of the provisions of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 and the MAPO Pelan Tindakan Kebangsaan Antipemerdagangan Orang (2016-2020), by increasing investigative teams and developing them to become specialist teams dedicated to the identification, apprehension and prosecution of human traffickers and those abetting them, and to work closely at all levels of policy formulation, administration and implementation, with civil society organisations an other stakeholders to improve public awareness of and eradicate human trafficking.

(C) The Malaysian Bar call on the Royal Malaysia Police to fully disclose the extent of these crimes and the various personalities involved and to all take necessary steps to thoroughly investigate and bring those responsible for these heinous atrocities to task.

(D) The Malaysian Bar call on the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (“SUHAKAM”) to exercise its functions and powers pursuant to sections 4(1)(d), 4(2)(d) and 4(2)(f), read with section 12(1), of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999, to carry out an inquiry in respect of the alleged human rights infringements, and produce a report of its investigations, findings and conclusions.


1 “General among dozens found guilty in Thailand's largest human trafficking trial”, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July 2017.
2 “Thai man gets five years jail for Wang Kelian human-trafficking”, New Straits Times, 15 December 2016.
3 “12 cops arrested over Perlis migrant mass graves”, Malay Mail Online, 27 May 2015.


One may want to look again at the:-

[EXCLUSIVE] The secrets of Wang Kelian exposed - New Straits Times
Dec 20, 2017 - KUALA LUMPUR: An exhaustive, two-year investigation by the New Straits Times Special Probes Team into the mass killings in Wang Kelian in 2015 that shook the world, has revealed startling new evidence, which suggests a massive, coordinated cover-up.

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