Sunday, September 23, 2007

Who’s running the asylum anyway?

Raja Petra Kamarudin

A massive day and night, house-to-house, state-wide manhunt is currently ongoing to track down 37 of the 41 demonstrators who failed to surrender by the time the ‘amnesty’ period ended yesterday. Only four took advantage of the generosity offered by the Royal Malaysian Police and surrendered as urged. The state-wide manhunt is in the wake of the rally organised by BERSIH -- a coalition of NGOs and political parties calling for a reform of Malaysia’s electoral system that is rife with fraud and gerrymandering -- which resulted in two people getting shot and who are still in hospital fighting for their lives.

BERSIH claims they had a police permit for the rally. The site of the rally has been the venue of numerous rallies over the last decade and which was built especially for such purposes. The police, however, claim that the police permit had been withdrawn because the rally is too near the palace of the Raja Muda of Terengganu. It is not only NOT too near, but in the past this has never been an issue. Today, it appears to be a problem -- and therefore the eleventh-hour withdrawal of the police permit.

Article 20(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1948 says that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam signed by the 45 foreign ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on 5 August 1990 grants individuals the right to express their opinion freely. It also encourages them to propagate that which is right and good and concludes that all rights and freedoms mentioned are subject to the Islamic Shariah, which is the declaration’s sole source. Therefore, the propagation of amar maaruf, nahi munkar is the responsibility of each and every individual and must be upheld to the last drop of blood.

The denial of assembly for the participants of the BERSIH rally that day in Batu Burok, Kuala Terengganu, therefore violates both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.

But why is the massive day and night, house-to-house, state-wide manhunt for 37 Malays whom the government classifies as ‘rioters’ so important? Why is no stone being left unturned in bringing these ‘criminals’ to justice when they were merely fulfilling their God-given right in expressing their opposition to a fraudulent electoral system? In the meantime, the police are talking about taking action against the distraught parents of a murdered eight year old child who was brutally tortured and raped when they should instead be launching a manhunt to look for those who have thus far raped and killed eight children. The Star says that 17 children are still missing while The Straits Times of Singapore says that 130 children have thus far disappeared since the beginning of this year.

It is most perplexing that the priority of the police is in seeking 37 demonstrators and charging the parents of a murdered child when there are clearly more pressing matters in hand. And as if this is not enough, we are now told that two very senior police officers are being investigated for owning property totalling RM33 million with one of them having RM27 million to his name.

According to the law, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) is not supposed to reveal any information of a corruption investigation until the investigation is complete and it has been proven that the person being investigated is actually corrupt. This is to ensure that the person being investigated is not a victim of malicious rumours or false accusations. Sometimes, corruption allegations are made by enemies of that person being accused merely to get him into trouble. If the investigation proves the allegation unfounded, then no harm is done to that person being accused. If he is guilty, then he would of course be brought to book. But if he is innocent and his name has been bandied about in the media, then even if he is later found innocent the stigma would still remain forever.

That is why reports to the ACA come under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). This is to protect those who are being investigated in the event all allegations are unfounded and the alleged is later cleared of the allegation. But in the case of Commissioner of Police Dato’ Pahlawan Ramli Bin Yusof, the Director of the Commercial Crime Investigation Division, they made the unprecedented move of announcing that he is being investigated for having assets amounting to RM27 million even before the investigation was launched.

Is there more than meets the eye here? It this a simple and genuine corruption investigation or is this a case of trying to bring down a senior police officer who has proven to be the thorn in the side of the underworld? Let us review the Ramli episode and see whether we are able to make sense out of it.

Ramli is the man who launched an investigation into the Chinese organised crime syndicate that controls all the prostitution, drugs, illegal gambling and loan sharking business all over Malaysia. What used to be small, private enterprises has now been organised into a nation-wide network. Small, private enterprises that refuse to come under the networking are forced out of business and the nation-wide syndicate has taken over their territories.

What Ramli uncovered was not only the fact that the underworld has been organised into a pan-Malaysian network, but also that it has links with the top echelons of the police force and is powerful enough to determine the transfers and promotions of police personnel. Those police officers who refuse to cooperate and play ball are quickly sent into cold storage and transferred into positions where they can no longer be an obstacle to the crime syndicate.

A few of the underworld bosses were detained under the Emergency Ordinance and some sent into detention or restricted residence. But before you can say “you are free to go”, the detainees were immediately released and investigations were launched against the arresting officers for what the police allege was ‘abuse of power’. Some of these arresting officers were even detained overnight in the police lockup. While the criminals walk free, those police officers who arrested them are locked up. Which police officer would now dare arrest an underworld boss?

The police depend on informers just like the Customs Department, Income Tax Department, and the Anti-Corruption Agency. More than 90% of the cases are solved through information that informers offer. And the law requires that informers receive protection. This was what Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi meant when he said whistle-blowers should be protected. In fact, there is an international agreement that whistle-blowers must receive government protection.

In Ramli’s case though, as much as he tried to protect his informers as required by the law and by international convention, they exposed all his informers and now everyone knows who they are. The informers are now scared shit and they are worried that they may be executed by those whom they snitched on. All the other informers now know that it is dangerous to talk to the police and all have gone underground and disappeared. The Royal Malaysian Police may now be hard-pressed in getting any more information that they greatly need to help solve the epidemic of crimes that is currently plaguing Malaysia. Ever wonder why 130 children have disappeared since the beginning of this year and thus far eight have turned up murdered and the police appear at a loss as to how to solve these crimes? Who would dare come forward to help the police when their names would probably be revealed whereby they will face retaliation?

Ramli is said to have RM27 million to his name. How does the ACA know when they have not even finalised the investigation yet? Does he have RM50 million in assets and RM23 million in debts whereby he would have a net worth of RM27 million? Or does he have RM27 million in assets and no debts at all? The figure of RM27 million is highly suspect and there is no way this can be quantified unless that RM27 million figure was plucked from the air and merely meant to sensationalise the issue.

Ramli has since filed his full statement of accounts stretching over the last 37 years since 1970 and there are no RM27 million in assets. But, until today, information is still being leaked to the media that he is worth RM27 million. Who is behind this leak and why is this RM27 million figure being leaked? Is this a message to Ramli to back off and leave the underworld alone lest he get charged and jailed for owning RM27 million in assets? When a Deputy Prime Minister can be sent to jail for 15 years on trumped-up charges, certainly a mere Commissioner of Police can be sent to jail for RM27 million assets he does not own.

Now, we must be clear about one thing. Ramli is not being investigated for owning RM27 million in assets. There is no harm in owning RM27 million in assets if you procured it legally and not through foul means. If your father was a Felda settler, and after he dies the government acquires his land, you would be worth at least RM3 million or so overnight. You need not go to jail for this. And if you invested the money in land in Langkawi many years ago, that RM3 million land would now be worth RM30 million today. You need not go to jail for that as well. You will only need to go to jail if the RM3 million or RM30 million was procured through bribes.

But Ramli is not being called to explain why he is worth RM27 million. He is being asked why he did not declare that he is worth RM27 million. Now, Ramli was not only able to prove that he is not worth RM27 million, but he has proven that he in fact had declared all this assets as required by law; which is the real issue they are raising against him.

Ramli used to serve as the Commissioner of Police for Sabah. As is customary, after you serve the state and before you retire or get transferred out from the state, the state can sell you a piece of land at nominal value as gratuity for your service. But the land cannot be registered in your personal name. It must be registered in the name of your company. Ramli, therefore, had to register a company to be able to buy that piece of land.

On 31 May 2006, Ramli wrote to the IGP asking for permission to act as a director/shareholder of a company called Kinsajaya Sdn Bhd which was incorporated on 20 April 2006 and which is jointly-owned together with General (Rtd) Datuk Muhamad Yasin bin Yahya. The purpose of the company is to hold the 950-acre piece of land that the Sabah State Government was giving him under the gratuity (kurnia) scheme.

On 29 June 2006, the police headquarters wrote to the Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs seeking permission for Ramli to become a director/shareholder of the company. On 7 July 2006, permission was granted.

Ramli’s offence is supposed to be a technical one. His offence is supposedly for not making this declaration. He not only did declare his involvement in the company, he also declared that the company would be a beneficiary to the land. And he did obtain approval from the Ministry.

But why is this issue now being raised? And why are they distorting the issue and quoting a figure of RM27 million, which has now been proven to be a figment of someone’s imagination? Is it a mere coincidence that the timing coincides with the move to clean up the Chinese organised crime syndicate?

There is certainly more to this story but we shall stop here for now and allow you to digest what we have laid out thus far. If you think the above is dynamite, wait until you read part 2 of this story. And if the above and the disappearance and murder of so many children plus the recent shooting in Batu Burok are not enough to erode your confidence in the Malaysian Police Force, then for sure part 2 of this report will convince you once and for all that a major reformation in the police force is not only grossly required but long overdue.

It is not enough we point to the IGP as the cause of this rut and rot. We need to also point to the Deputy Ministers of Internal Security and Home Affairs plus their Minister who is none other than the Prime Minister of Malaysia. All this would not happen and would not be possible unless there is something seriously wrong right at the top. So it is not enough we clean up the police force. We also need to clean out those who walk in the corridors of power who are the managers of the police force and trustees of the people. The trustees have misplaced our trust and they need to pay for this crime. We put them there to safeguard the peoples’ interest. They have violated that trust we placed in them and the lunatics are now running the asylum.


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