Journalist frustrated at lack of recognition for exposing Wang Kelian mass graves

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 31 Jan 2019

GEORGE TOWN (Bernama): An award-winning journalist has expressed his frustration at not being given due recognition for being the first to expose the migrant prison camps and mass graves in Wang Kelian, Perlis.

Former Malay Mail journalist S. Arulldas said Thursday (Jan 31) that recent news reports on the issue did not mention anything about his efforts, as well as those of his photographer, Sayuti Zainudin, as being the first to visit and report about Wang Kelian on March 9, 2015.  

“We risked our lives and went through so much of pain to expose the migrant prison camps and the mass graves, where about 400 security personnel and representatives of relevant agencies exhumed a total of 139 bodies.

“I do not understand why they (the news reports) failed to give due recognition or credit to Malay Mail, me and our photographer for the risk, pain, suffering and life-threatening situation we went through to expose the inhumane acts," he said.

Arulldas was commenting on a recent news report to announce the government's appointment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry where it stated that "In May 2015, police announced the discovery of human-trafficking camps and mass graves in Wang Kelian". 

Arulldas said that he and his photographer went to Perlis in December 2014 to check on some illegal immigrant issues but during their break at a coffee shop in Jitra, they overheard talk among locals that there were some big human-trafficking camps in Wang Kelian.

"I immediately arranged a time with my photographer to enter the deep jungle to find out (more about) the mass graves, but we failed on our first few attempts and gave up after almost losing our way (in the jungle)," he said.

He said they did not give up on the challenge and on May 13, with the help of two men from Thailand, they managed to reach the site through the Padang Besar check point.

"Throughout that period, we produced more than 100 special reports exposing the inhumane acts of the human trafficking syndicates and the injustices done against the migrants who were in search of greener pastures," he said.

In 2015, Arulldas and his photographer Sayuti won two awards - Outstanding Reporting by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia and Best Investigative Report at the Malaysian Press Institute-Petronas Awards - for exposing the migrant prison camps and the mass graves in Wang Kelian. - Bernama 
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