Officers may be in cahoots with traffickers: Malaysian Home Minister

Officers may be in cahoots with traffickers: Malaysian Home Minister

KUALA LUMPUR - Police are looking into the possibility of enforcement officers, including those from the Forestry Department, being in cahoots with the human traffickers who are responsible for the mass graves discovered near the Malaysia-Thai border.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the officers might not only be collaborating with locals but also have links in Thailand, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

"We suspect that some of them are in cahoots with the traffickers. We are also working with the Forestry Department, the enforcement agency for the area, including the boundary between Malaysia and Thailand.

"But I would need to discuss the matter with the minister concerned," he said, referring to the Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.

Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, Dr Ahmad Zahid said police were investigating the matter for possible murder, causing death or allowing immigrants to enter the country illegally.

Dr Ahmad Zahid had on Sunday confirmed the discovery of mass graves at human trafficking detention camps in Wang Kelian, Perlis.

To date, a total of 139 graves spread over 28 human trafficking camps were found by police.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of parliamentary affairs Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the Government would take action against all those involved without exception.

"We do not play favourites. If it involves civil servants, we will take action," said the former Perlis mentri besar.

"The area is a place I used to visit, although it has been two to three years since my last trip.

Even then, we saw a few shacks but we thought they were places for people to rest.

"Perlis had also organised a daki-thon (climbing expedition) but each time we went up, we did not see anyone," said Shahidan, who is also Arau MP.

"I would like to question the Forestry Department and the rangers because it is a state park. How could they have missed the traffickers?" he asked.

"I'm asking because rangers are well-versed with the jungle. Plus, this jungle is not very big - it borders a Thai forest reserve," said Shahidan, whose portfolio includes security issues.

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