Wang Kelian - it's as bad as you suspect - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, April 20, 2019
Malaysiakini : "The fight for justice against corruption is never easy.
It never has been and never will be. It exacts a toll on our selves, our
families, our friends and especially our children. In the end, I
believe, as in my case, the price we pay is well worth holding on to our
dignity." - Frank Serpico
Lost in the news cycle of the ongoing Najib Abdul Razak corruption
trial is the heart of darkness which is the Wang Kelian Royal Commission
of Inquiry (RCI). To be honest I have no idea how this RCI will turn
out or if like previous RCIs, it causes only a minor stir and then it's
back to business as usual.
Police corruption is not something that
exists in a vacuum. It is an eco-system of political, criminal and
commercial enterprises which sustains a black economy which contributes
to the development of the country. That is the harsh reality - or maybe
just the justification for people looking elsewhere to deposit their
moral outrage. So far, the RCI has concerned itself with the
banalities of the case. How it began and the tradecraft, or lack
thereof, of the state security apparatus.
Police inspector Mohd Mossadique Azni did not have answers to
fairly straightforward questions: (1) Do police have a standard
operating procedure when they arrest undocumented migrants at the
border, and (2) if he or his officers had been given training on how to
process undocumented migrants.
The question to ask is not how
could these people handle border security but rather, what kind of
political apparatus is in place which creates these types of personnel?
The underlying reality is that there is probably - somewhere out there -
a standard operating procedure to handle undocumented or illegal
immigrants but nobody pays any attention to it because it not part of
the standard operating procedure of the state security apparatus working
us look at this logically. If there were indeed collusion between the
state security apparatus and slavers operating at the border, would
anyone have any use for protocol or operating procedures beyond the
informal arrangements between thieves? When a deputy police chief orders the destruction
of a camp instead of searching for evidence or carrying out the usual
tradecraft which could yield intelligence on a variety of issues, is
this standard operating procedure?
Why was an order given to delete
all the photographs of an operation when these photographs are vital
intelligence when it comes to border security? These were apparently
surveillance photographs and we do not know what was in them. And now we
will never know, right?
I am just thinking out loud here but
surely if you were part of a slavery ring and you knew they were mass
graves in the camps you used, you would want to get rid of any evidence
of such atrocities, right? You would probably want to burn the camp down
and ensure that they were no photographs which could incriminate
certain parties or personalities, yes?
When then assistant field
commander of the General Operations Force battalion S Sivanganam was
asked if there was a collusion between local authorities and this slaver
syndicates, he replied:
“Yes. This is based on the information given by the source, who told me
what (middleman) 'Aziz' told him when the former was trying to get him
to transport the illegal immigrants.”
For filing a report on the information from his source, Sivanagam was put in cold storage.
He also added that “I dared not question who gave this instruction and
why”. This was the order forbidding him from going on any operations. Personally,
I think this was a good move. Who knows what would have happened if he
began digging any further. It's no use trying to spin this. Here was a
member of the state security apparatus who filed a report which pointed
to collusion between criminal elements and the security apparatus and
what happens is not an investigation into these alleged criminal
activities but rather, the career demise of this officer.
folks are wondering, why didn’t Sivanagam break the chain of command
and pursue the matter further? There could be many reasons for that. He
cites his “loyalty” to his superior but the reality is that when it came
to procedure, he did his job. As far as the system is concerned, his
role in it worked. If this sounds like a lame excuse, I can understand
that. But what we are dealing with here is a system of corruption and
collusion at the highest levels.
Reports from the New Straits Times
which broke the story all those years ago highlighted the stonewalling,
the arrogance and the malfeasance that was on full display when the
state security apparatus was scrambling to cover their behinds. I have chronicled
this in many columns, but when a senior police personnel - when
questioned on why the state security apparatus did what they did -
arrogantly claims that police tradecraft is not the purview of us mere
mortals, we begin to understand the depths of criminality in the state
Look, I am not saying that all state security
personnel are corrupt. I am not even saying that all senior state
security personnel are corrupt. What I am saying is that even if they
were not corrupt, the blue wall of police silence would ensure that the
criminality of police officers working in concert with criminal
syndicates and backed by local and federal politicians will remain
hidden, especially in a country where race, religion and royal
prerogative trumps normative values that most Malaysians share.
RCI so far has made our border security look like a joke. This may be
the unintended consequences of the blue wall of silence, the lack of
training or just good old-fashioned incompetence. But when criminal
syndicates can “hear” police operations and somehow manage to escape from camps which dot the border, you have to ask yourself, are we really safe?
am pessimistic that anything will come out of this RCI. I have often
argued that that there needs to be a full-scale revamp when it comes to
our state security apparatus. If you think that the state security
apparatus was always like this, then you are seriously mistaken.
What went down in Wang Kelian, if left unanswered, is the kind of evil that could destroy a country.