Thais indirectly encouraged illegal immigrants to enter Malaysia by setting up settlements that were very close to our border as temporary camps, with the excuse their detention camps can’t hold all the immigrants.
The seventh witness in the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the discovery of mass graves and transit camps in Wang Kelian, Perlis, on Monday (April 22) testified that he found six human skeletons and 20 grave-like structures during a follow-up search at Bukit Wang Burma on Aug 15, 2015.
ASP Jamaluddin Shah Mohd Jawan, now head of the Anti-Crime and Community Safety Division at the Tumpat district police headquarters (IPD), said the search was led by him, who was then an Inspector with the Padang Besar IPD Special Branch, together with a team from the Perlis state contingent headquarters (IPK).
“The skeletal remains were found all over the raised platforms at the camp structures, which were made from canvas and wood, and the place was fenced up with barbed wire,” he told the RCI.
The witness said the camp was located in Bukit Wang Burma, Perlis, about 50m from the Malaysia-Thailand border and an hour’s walk from the Wang Kelian camp.
Jamaluddin Shah said following inspection by a forensic team, the 20 graves were found to contain skeletal remains.
The campsite at Bukit Wang Burma was the last discovery from the follow-up search that he made after the campsite at Wang Kelian was found in January 2015, said the witness who had served for nine years at the Padang Besar IPD’s Special Branch.
Before the discovery of the camp at Bukit Wang Burma, Jamaluddin Shah said that in March 2015, follow-up searches at two more locations, namely Genting Perah and Perlis State Park, found 18 small camps.
The search, he said, was conducted by the Special Branch of the Perlis IPK and Padang Besar IPD together with VAT 69 of the Royal Malaysian Police, to ensure that no area was missed out in the search for more such settlement camps.
“This was because the translation of the contents of a notebook in Thai found at the Wang Kelian camp in 2015 told of other camps in nearby areas,” he said.
Jamaluddin also said in his testimony that based on his experience, the location of the camps was a factor for illegals trying to enter Malaysia as it was located close to the border with Perlis.
“Most of the illegals that I interrogated (while serving in Padang Besar) admitted to being from the camps on the Thailand side of the border,” he said.
The public hearing session today was briefly held behind closed doors when the names of 11 locals suspected of being ‘runners’ in human trafficking activities were presented.
Jamalludin, when asked to look at the list of names, confirmed that some of those on the list were under the observation of the Padang Besar Police Headquarter’s (IPD) special branch.
“This is not new information for the Padang Besar IPD. All those who have been named are suspected of being runners (in smuggling in foreign immigrants),” said Jamalludin.
Jamalludin also told the RCI that reports by the special branch regarding the human trafficking activities on the Malaysia-Thailand border were categorised as ‘Rahsia’ (secret) and ‘Rahsia Besar’ (big secret) and involved information affecting national security.
At the time, RCI chairman, former Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, urged media representatives and the public to leave the RCI proceeding room for it to be conducted privately for about 30 minutes.
After the media was allowed in again, the eighth witness, police pensioner Abdul Rahman Kashim, who was the former Kaki Bukit Police Station chief from 2005 to 2014, began his testimony.
Also testifying in the afternoon session was the ninth witness, Corporal Roshaidi Hussin who has been serving at the Wang Kelian Police Station in Perlis from 2012 to date.
The final witness today was Sub Inspector (B) Zainuddin Hussin, who was also the police chief of the Kaki Bukit Police Station from January 2015 to June 2016.
All three in their respective statements said they didn’t know about the settlements and mass graves in Wang Kelian before the General Operations Force (PGA) discovered the location in January 2015.
They said their scope of duties only covered patrolling and arresting criminals and illegal immigrants in the Wang Kelian housing areas, villages, Felcra Lubuk Sireh, Padang Besar and Wang Kelian, while the forest areas were handled by the PGA.
The RCI has been extended for another three days from tomorrow.
Apr 17, Wang Kelian RCI: Day One