WHEN it comes to rules and regulations, the rakyat expects to see equal treatment for all citizens.
Regardless of ranks and status in society, they expect to see justice and that no one is above the law.
It does not matter whether a person is a Datuk or a Tan Sri or just regular folk without any title prefix to their name, every person should be equally treated.
It was shocking when the Miri police unveiled a cache of high-powered firearms and live ammunitions that they seized from a VIP’s home in Miri.
Last Tuesday’s seizure of the firearms was from the house of Datuk Stephen Lee, a plantation company boss in Miri, who is now wanted by Bukit Aman police to help their investigations into the murder of social and human rights activist Bill Kayong.
Since the disclosure, local politicians and Dayak social rights leaders have been waiting for an explanation from Miri police and from the Miri District, both involved in the issuance of firearm licences to the businessman.
The Miri police approved two different licences to Lee and the District Office issued five licences for him to import seven lethal rifles, shotguns and pistols besides more than 600 bullets from overseas.
The man in the street too wants to know how a businessman could secure so many permits and licences to own dangerous firearms and for what purpose.
The lawyer for the family of the slain Bill Kayong has also questioned the way firearm licences are being issued to certain influential people in Sarawak.
Lawyer Abun Sui, who himself a human rights and land rights activist, said the loose control over firearm possession in the state had resulted in the abuse of these weapons.
He said there had been cases of natives being intimidated and threatened by people using firearms to scare them away from their native land.
The late Kayong was PKR Miri secretary and actively involved in social and land rights cases in northern Sarawak.
He was shot dead mafia-style at a traffic intersection in front of the E Mart Commercial Centre in the Kuala Baram district 15km north of Miri on June 21.
Abun said it was shocking to know that Lee had so many firearms.
He questioned how many more VIPs like Lee were given special treatment from the state administrative and enforcement authorities.
Abun’s curiousity echoes the rakyat’s queer feeling about the issuance of licences for firearms in Sarawak.
The public are now suspecting that this firearm case is an example of how certain VIPs are given special treatment by the authorities.
Public trust has been breached.
The Miri police and the Miri District Office must come up with a good explanation in order to restore the rakyat’s trust and confidence.