PUTRAJAYA — April 23, 2019: A witness today claimed that he was told not to proceed with the investigation after the the first body was found at the summit of Bukit Wang Burma in the case relating to the discovery of mass graves and transit camps.
The then acting head of the Padang Besar police CID, ASP Junaidy Md. Saad, claimed to have been instructed by the OCPD in March 2015 when it was classified as sudden death.
Junaidy said he was not sure why the instruction was issued when the same officer was in fact led the mission to dig out the grave-like structure with the forensic team when they returned to visit the site.
“The mission that day was to ascertain whether there were bodies buried in that structure and after digging more than one foot feet, the team found something wrapped in a white shroud.
“When the shroud was removed we found decomposed human remains. The body was not removed but was reburied after photographs were taken,” testified Junaidi on the fourth day of the public hearing before a seven-member panel led by former Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria.
Junaidy, now with Pendang police, said the forensic members then marked the 34 grave-like structures for further action.
After the instruction from the OCPD, Junaidy did not conduct any investigation or follow-up, until he was called by the federal police headquarters (Bukit Aman) to meet the deputy inspector-general of police, following which the case was handed over to two officers at Bukit Aman.
The case was then classified under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act. Op Wawasan 1 was launched on May 25, when police retrieved 106 bodies from the graves located near the Wang Burma and Genting Perah human trafficking camps, said Junaidi.
Op Wawasan 2 was launched on August 22 when he received a report made by ASP Jamaluddin Shah, the then acting Special Branch chief with Padang Besar police. A further 24 bodies were found, of which six were skeletons.
All 130 bodies were sent to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Star.
Former Padang Besar OCPD Supt. Rizani Che Ismail admitted that police were slow in taking action and believed this was because the top brass viewed the case as sensitive as it concerned two countries and thus should be dealt with caution.
“To me this was quite a big and sensational case but I do not know why we were slow to act,” he said when questioned by the panel’s deputy chairman Tan Sri Norian Mai.
Rizani told the inquiry he was never contacted by anyone from Bukit Aman for information until Op Wawasan Khas was launched on May 25, 2015. — Bernama