PUTRAJAYA: The journalist who discovered mass graves in Perlis in 2015 says it was easy to cross between the Malaysian-Thai border.
S. Arulldas, who was then a reporter with the Malay Mail, told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) here that he and colleague Mohd Sayuti Zainudin climbed a hill from Thailand side near Padang Besar and easily walked into Malaysia territory.
Together with two Thai guides, they discovered a secret camp believed used by human traffickers.
"On May 13 2015, we met up with two Thai men who promised to guide us to the migrant camps.
"We entered Thailand via Padang Besar and used a 4x4 vehicle to get to a foothill near Ban Talo.
"When we started walking, we arrived at a clearing where we saw a lot of rubbish such as a plastic packets for food as well as clothes.
"We bumped into some Thai army personnel. After our guides spoke to them, we were allowed to proceed.
"After over an hour, we came across some barbed wire which served as the border between Malaysia and Thailand.
"It was only thigh-high and easy to step over and enter the other side.
"Not long after that, we found the camp site," said Arulldas at the seventh day of the RCI hearing here.
Arulldas told the inquiry that the path to get to the camp site from Thailand was "easy", although as a 60-year-old then, he had difficulty climbing the hill.
"The climb for me was killing and painful. We had to stop a few times so I could take a rest," he said.
At the camp site, Arulldas and Mohd Sayuti discovered what appeared to be graves where bodies of migrants were buried.
"I felt sad and had my hands on my head when I saw the graves. How could migrants be subjected to such treatment like this?" said Arulldas.
Mohd Sayuti, the 22nd witness at the RCI, said as part of their investigative reporting, he and Arulldas observed how lax the security at the Malaysian-Thai border was.
"In Danok, for example, we saw immigration cards were being handed out without going through proper procedures," said the photographer.
The RCI was set up with the consent of Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Jan 29. 2019 to review the findings in the discovery of 139 graves and 28 human trafficking camps in Wang Kelian back on 2015.
The inquiry is chaired by former Chief Justice Tun Ariffin Zakaria.