MALAYSIANS woke up to the news yesterday that the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman, Tan Sri Razali Ismail, had submitted his resignation from the post. He has taken this step just two weeks before his term officially ends.
Is Razali’s resignation a symbolic protest against the powers that be with regards to the lackadaisical manner in which they responded to the findings of the public inquiry conducted by Suhakam on the abductions of Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat?
The public inquiry panel comprised respected and eminent persons, including a retired judge. The fact that Suhakam concluded that the Special Branch and Bukit Aman may have been involved in the kidnapping of Koh and Amri is extremely disturbing to all Malaysians.
Agencies tasked with the job of protecting and safeguarding ordinary citizens have been implicated in a serious criminal act, and all the prime minister could say was it was possible that there may not have been hard evidence, and that Suhakam could perhaps have relied on “circumstantial evidence”. This non-committal response was perhaps not what the people were expecting from the PM.
The Special Branch does not operate in a transparent fashion. We are told that the organisation has deviated from the original reasons for its formation.
Its activities are not subject to scrutiny and there is no parliamentary oversight. It is widely believed that the head of Special Branch reports to the PM and not to the inspector-general of police or home minister. The former home minister has publicly declared that he never ordered any kind of abduction. So who did?
It has been said that Special Branch officers were even sent to Russia for training with the KGB (main security agency for the Soviet Union from 1954 until its break-up in 1991), which is now known as the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB). If this is true, it should be of serious concern to all Malaysians since the KGB was a tool of oppression and repression during the Communist Soviet era, and was notorious for kidnapping, murder and other extra-judicial and illegal acts.
Are the abductions of Koh and Amri just the tip of the iceberg? Many questions need to be answered.
The PM has further stated that investigations based on Suhakam’s findings and subsequent police reports shall commence as soon as the current IGP retires.
Are Koh and Amri alive? The cries of the families of the abducted continue to fall on deaf ears.
If serious investigations are not forthcoming, Malaysians may lose their trust and confidence in the very agencies set up to protect and safeguard them.
Royal Military College Malaysia