Harapan must unearth slavers and killers of Wang Kelian - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, May 21, 2018
Malaysiakini : “There is no evidence to show there had been any police officers
who were in cahoots with the syndicates in this particular case.” – Bukit Aman responding to questions posed by New Straits Times
Readers email me and ask me what I think of the fall of our kleptocrat. Surely, I must have something to say? Most reportage reeks of schadenfreude and for a voting public who for
years had their noses rubbed in the scandal, every photo, every news
piece, every indignation suffered by our former prime minister is the
equivalent of a money shot. Needless to say, I am relieved that his
reign is over and nobody has ever been as complicit as he has in his own
downfall. My interests, of course, lay elsewhere.
There is something very wrong with our country. Nowhere is this more
evident than in the mass graves of Wang Kelian. What keeps me up at
night, especially as a former servant in the state security apparatus,
are incidents like Wang Kelian. This, to me, is real evil. Institutional
evil that corrupts our society in ways that Birkin bags, luxury yachts
and chocolate-pilfering cops could never do.
Make no mistake. The Umno state is complicit in this evil, as well as
any regime which chooses to ignore it. By covering up the sins of the
petty fiefdoms that hold sway in our state security apparatus, they
become enablers, or worse, for the evil done to people who are
marginalised in our society. The reportage by the New Straits Times was especially robust considering the milieu they were operating in. In one illuminating paragraph from the expose, the NST team accused deputy inspector-general of police Noor Rashid Ibrahim of stonewalling them.
The graves at Wang Kelian are but part of a larger narrative of
slavery, rape, murder and governmental malfeasance that should shock the
nation, but instead was buried beneath more accessible and convenient
anti-Umno narratives. This has to change. What we are really talking about in cases like these is the collusion
between the state security apparatus and criminal organisations. Most
consider this business as usual but for some, like me, I refer to this
as domestic terrorism. The fact that allegations against police officers accused of
collaborating with human trafficking cartels (how anodyne, let’s just
call them slavers) was dismissed with the usual “no evidence”.
This should tell us something about how the Umno state managed it
affairs when it came to these sorts of issues, and hopefully how a
Pakatan Harapan regime does not.
In my piece about the bodies and lies buried in Wang Kelian, I referenced a Guardian
report of a 2009 US Senate report of the allegation that “there were
questions about the ‘level of participation’ of government officials in
Malaysia and Thailand.” Meanwhile, in a news report, a Special Branch
officer claimed that 80 percent of border cops are corrupt. From the report:
"The enemy we have to fight is one that operates as an institution.
We are dealing with institutionalized corruption so deeply entrenched
that expecting internal disciplining is like asking the chief crook to
rat out on his runners." And if you think this is bad, according to the report, in a 2011
arrest by Special Branch of eight immigration officers involved in a
human trafficking operation, when interrogated and asked to name others
who were involved in this crime, the answer was: "It would be easier if
you asked us for the names of officers not on the take."
In my piece, I singled out the DAP’s Steven Sim for asking on the status
of the 12 police officers who were implicated in this heinous crime. As
usual Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this in his written reply –
“However, they have been released because there was insufficient evidence to convict them of the offence."
Pardon my language but with the former Umno regime, there was always
that excuse of “insufficient evidence”. When it came to the 1MDB
scandal, insufficient evidence or worse, no crime. When it came to
deaths in custody, no evidence. When it came to police corruption, no
evidence. Sure, the MACC put on a good show arresting people but the
real terror, that evil of people working the system, with the collusion
of the Umno state, there was always no evidence.
I have made this point many times - “Add to this, the complicated
reality of security apparatus personnel navigating the petty fiefdoms
and the allegiances of said fiefdoms to Umno warlords and potentates and
the fact that Malaysia is a nexus for human trafficking, with the
complicity - well-documented - of the security apparatus. This last part
is extremely important because the unsanctioned flow of illicit human
cargo is the conduit for Islamic extremists to leave and enter the
Let me share this report from the trenches which I have never
disclosed. A Special Branch officer, a good man who quit the game and
moved to another country related this to me. There was this Burmese
girl, who was looking for a new life in Malaysia. She was brought in by
human traffickers with the collusion of state players where she was
raped, tortured and sold to a local meth lab for “entertainment” for the
The police raided the lab but gave her back to the traffickers who
recycled her back into the system. This Special Branch officer looked
for her for two years. By the end of it, he was divorced, had a drinking
problem and left the country. I have used the term “evil” in this
piece. Could anyone really say otherwise?
We talk about reforming our institutions. We talk about change in
Malaysia. We may not be able to reform the deeper problems of race and
religion, but we can affect immediate change in our compromised
institutions. To me, the institution that needs reform the most urgently is our
state security apparatus. I have seen online commentary of how, ever
since Harapan took over, some folks are more at ease with the Royal
Malaysian Police (PDRM) and other security institutions. This is the
stupidest thing I have read in some time.
Stealing chocolates and food
from the refrigerator of relatives of a kleptocrat may sound funny, but
there are very real and dangerous problems with our state security
apparatus. Wang Kelian happened in the dark shadows of our land. There
are crimes committed in the urban centres which have a direct connection
with places like Wang Kelian. We are not talking about isolated
incidents. We are talking about a system that feeds into our lives, in
ways we would never suspect.
The Harapan regime should expose the slavers and killers of Wang
Kelian, discover what happened there and inform the public of the real
nature of the corruption of our state security apparatus. They should
expose how deep the rot goes when it comes to the abuse suffered by
disenfranchised people, migrant workers and the rest under the boot of
those colluding with crime syndicates.
By exposing the crimes committed by the state in Wang Kelian, we
could be truly on the way of reforming our state security apparatus.
There are good people in our state security apparatus. People willing to
expose the wrongdoing of their colleagues. All they need is a
government that supports them. By discovering what happened in Wang
Kelian, by bringing the perpetrators to justice. By following the money
trail - always follow the money trail - we could reform the system.
It all begins by revisiting our sins in Wang Kelian.