PUTRAJAYA: The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the discovery of the temporary transit camps and mass graves at Wang Kelian, Perlis, which entered its fifth day today was told that the investigation came to a temporary halt as directed by the then Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.
Former Perlis police chief Datuk Zul Aznan Haron said he received the directive after he contacted Khalid via a phone call on Jan 20, 2015.
In the conversation, Zul Aznan said he told Khalid about the transit camps, the arrest of 38 illegal immigrants and the discovery of grave-like structures at Bukit Wang Burma by members of the General Operations Force (PGA) after a survey and raid on the site on Jan 19.
“After I was briefed by my deputy, ACP Md Zukir Md Isa, I contacted the IGP to inform the matter but Khalid told to hold on, as this required careful preparation and indepth research.
“That was my last conversation with Khalid. All along I thought on informing the IGP, the case would be looked into by Bukit Aman,“ the 16th witness said.
When asked if the police could take the time to take action after the transit camps were discovered, Zul Aznan said possibly nothing was done from Jan 23 to early March due to factors, such as the case could create quite an impact as it involved foreigners.
Zul Aznan, 66, who is currently Universiti Malaysia Perlis (Unimap) security director said investigations into the case resumed when told that the VAT 69 police commando was going into the Wang Kelian forest area to conduct further investigations.
“No action was taken for quite sometime until March 5, 2015 when the VAT 69 team was briefed on the transit camps, their location and topography of the forest area.
“When the decision to send the VAT 69 was made, it was a first step in exploring the entire area for security analysis purposes and to map out further action,“ he said.
According to him, his involvement in the case was up to the briefing session and he was not notified of official information on the result of the operation but he was made to understand that arrests were made in the operation.
Meanwhile, Zul Aznan defended the action taken by his deputy ACP (B) Md Zukir Md Isa, to investigate further on the grave-like structures and to demolish the transit camps.
He said the transit camps were demolished after Padang Besar district police chief Supt Rizani Che Ismail briefed Md Zukir that the immigrants who had been detained had been handed over to the Immigration Department as no mastermind was involved.
“I was in full support of the directive to demolish part of the camps to prevent foreign immigrants from re-occupying the area in future, but not to the extent of demolishing the entire place which could destroy all evidence,“ he said.
The public hearing continues tomorrow. — Bernama