Wang Kelian RCI hearing concludes, report to be submitted to Agong in September

18 Jun 2019 / 16:36 H.

PUTRAJAYA: The Royal Commission of Inquiry’s (RCI) public hearing into the Wang Kelian human trafficking camps and mass graves concluded after a gruelling 17-day proceeding involving 48 witnesses and spanning over two months.

RCI chairman Tun Arifin Zakaria said the panel members would meet soon to prepare and finalise a report before submitting it to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah by early September.

“We have more or less exhausted whatever is available to us. As you have heard from the proceedings, we were not able to call in some Thai witnesses, as their government did not want to cooperate.

“But generally I’m satisfied with whatever information that have been given to us, and the police have also tried their best (to help in the proceedings),” he told a press conference after the conclusion of the hearing, here, today.

Arifin said he believed the RCI has accomplished its objectives when it was set up, and said it would be making several recommendations to the government, including on improving border security and cooperation with Thailand counterpart.

Whether the report would be made public, Arifin said he would leave the matter up to the government.

Meanwhile, RCI deputy chairman Tan Sri Norian Mai did not discount the possibility that the inquiry might recommend the police to reopen investigation into the Wang Kelian human trafficking case, based on information gathered during the proceedings.

“It depends on our (panellists) discussions later. If we feel the need to make such a recommendation, I think the RCI will do that,” he said.

On his view how the police have handled the whole Wang Kelian case, Norian said it was improper for him to make any comments at the moment, as he feared it might not be in line with the sentiment of other panellists.

Among the prominent witnesses to have been called in to testify in the RCI include former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and former Perlis police chief Datuk Zul Aznam Haron.

The RCI was established to probe on the Wang Kelian human trafficking case, following the discovery of over 100 makeshift graves and 29 temporary detention camps in 2015, deep in the jungle of Bukit Genting Perah and Bukit Wang Burma, just a few hundred metres from the Malaysia-Thai border.

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