Current gov't must ensure justice for Wang Kelian victims


30 Jan 2019, 3:21 am

Updated a year ago


LETTER | Since the discovery of the mass graves in May 2015, Tenaganita had made many demands and calls to the previous government to prosecute the perpetrators and punish them accordingly for being complicit in heinous crimes, as well as for the establishment of the Royal Commission of Inquiry.

In fact, the New Straits Times’ expose elucidated the lack of concern shown by the authorities in the matter.

While the reports on the human trafficking camps and activities are shocking, what is of even greater distress is the obvious complicity of the authorities in criminal activities.

As we know, human trafficking by criminals is a common occurrence all over the world, but it is extremely excruciating when law enforcement agencies are found to be deeply rooted in the criminal activities.

There were several arrests of enforcement officers, with a total of 12 Malaysian police officers investigated for their involvement in human trafficking camps and mass graves. Nonetheless, they were released due to the lack of "strong evidence" in March 2017.

While Thai and Myanmar authorities have been prosecuted, all Malaysian officers alleged to have known about the camps have received impunity, despite allegations that officers were complicit in trafficking.

This is in context of the longstanding culture of impunity within the Malaysian police and an unwillingness to pursue investigations if there were suspicions that other officers are involved in a crime by the previous government.

Much time has been wasted in prolonging the enforcement of justice, with our moral integrity degraded, for the sake of avoiding calling those accountable to the stand.

How long shall society have to wait for our leaders to put human rights first and to allow truth and justice to prevail, over interests which demean a government’s responsibility to serve with integrity and fairness?

Though long overdue, Tenaganita welcomes the decision of the current government in establishing the Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the case of the human trafficking death camps which were uncovered in Wang Kelian in May 2015. 

Hence it is crucial that a transparent and meticulous investigation be undertaken. The reported cover-up of the activities of human trafficking syndicates and the annihilation of vital evidence needs to be explained; those involved in it should be brought to justice, without fear or favour.

We genuinely hope that this is not another approach or a public relation exercise by the current government, so we will not be further down-graded by the US State Department in the upcoming Trafficking In Persons 2019 Report.

As such, we continue to make and stand by the same demands, as we did with the previous government.

We demand the current government to explain the reasons for the cover-up and destruction of evidence.

We want to determine if those in power today have the political will to bring the perpetrators of these murders and torture of innocent refugees and migrants accountable.

It is time for us to really work towards giving peace and rest to the souls of those who were murdered by punishing the perpetrators and criminals without impunity. We have that obligation to fulfil.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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