Media statement by DAP Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan and Wanita DAP Publicity Secretary Kasthuri Patto on Friday 22 December 2017 in Penang.

Since the Wang Kelian mass graves of what is believed to be Rohingya men, women and children had been exposed in May 2015, the Government has been secretive about the investigations into the hidden hands involved in the barbarity of the discovery.

Credit must be given to the persistency of the New Straits Times Special Probes Team’s exposé which revealed that there was more than meets the eye in the Wang Kelian death camp.

It is indeed terribly misleading that while Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan now says that the file on the Wang Kelian human trafficking tragedy is still open and any and all new leads in the case will be investigated while in 21 June 2015 Perlis police chief Senior Asst Comm (SAC) Shafie Ismail claimed that ‘no elements of foul play were found in the post-mortem conducted on 26 human remains found at the Wang Kelian camps” and that the cases have been classified as “sudden deaths”.

After 2 years, we are further away from the truth on the hidden hands on the part of the Malaysian syndicate involved in the deaths of 139 refugees.

In 2010, Kangar MP Dato Seri Mohd Radzi had asked the Home Ministry on the steps taken by the Government to ensure that Wang Kelian in Perlis was impenetrable as the ‘free flow’ concept was still in practise. On 14 December 2007, the Malaysian Government had decided to tighten the entry-exit flow by creating 2 control posts in Wang Kelian consisting of agencies like the Immigration, PDRM and the Smuggling Prevention Unit (known as Border Security Agency after November 2015). According to Dato Seri Mohd Radzi, the second control post which appears only at arms length was stationed in the middle of the road and when it got too hot, the officers would take shelter in the shade. 7 years ago, he raised his concerns that the area around the border was not fenced and that he feared other routes will exist due to a lack in border security.

Concerns of border security have been raised 7 years ago and replies given by the then Home Ministry which was headed by Datuk Seri Hishamuddin was presented in the Dewan Rakyat.

However, after 5 years the whole nation was racked with death camps that have possibly been in operation since 2013!

Was it the lax attitude of government agencies securing the border, or was it the hidden hands of the Malaysian syndicate who may have strong connections or some form of protection by the Malaysian enforcement agencies?

With all these Government agencies at the control posts in Wang Kelian, are Malaysians supposed to believe that not one Malaysian was involved in this human trafficking syndicate which led to the horrific deaths of 139 men, women and children at the Malaysia-Thailand border?

In June 2015, New Straits cited the Special Branch as claiming 80% of Malaysian law enforcement officers at the country’s borders had been engaged in corruption, with some purportedly also on the smuggling syndicates’ payroll instead of merely taking bribes.

Home Minister had admitted in that report that enforcement officers found to be involved in human trafficking activities are of lower ranking officers.

This is clearly an open admission that there have been enforcement officers involved in the existence of the death camp in Wang Kelian.

However, eyebrows have been raised again on the officers suspected in being accessories to the Wang Kelian deaths to be let off the hook as there was not enough evidence to charge them!

Home Minister Datuk Zahid Hamidi has been deflecting reports and allegations with no substantive or concrete answers and responses from 2015 after the unearthing of the mass graves up to the point that journalists were compelled to take matters into their own hands and probe this very shocking, outrageous and shameful case.

I call upon the Home Minister Datuk Zahid Hamidi as well as the former IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to reveal the Malaysian syndicate, whether “ikan bilis” or sharks involved in the human trafficking ring that sacrificed 139 innocent lives. An inaction on the part of the Home Minister is a direct admission of guilt to being accessories to the trafficking ring and the possible massacre of the victims found in Wang Kelian.

Kasthuri Patto

Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan

Publicity Secretary for Wanita DAP

Democratic Action Party