Five reasons why Zamri, others must withdraw from missing persons ‘taskforce’

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Family members of Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat

Citizens Against Enforced Disappearnces (Caged) notes that despite public outrage, Zamri Yahya, head of the internal affairs department of the police, has not withdrawn from the bogus “taskforce” to probe the conclusion of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) that the Special Branch of the police forcibly ‘disappeared’ social activist Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh.

Caged reminds Zamri, Inspector General of Police Hamid Bador and Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin that the police were on trial during the Suhakam inquiry into the disappearances of Amri and Raymond.

This is because the inquiry was a response to public perception that the police were not serious about finding the victims and their abductors. If the internal affairs department wasn’t paying attention, it was sleeping on the job.

Caged also reminds Hamid and Muhyiddin that the inquiry was rigorous and fair and that the police have never claimed it was not.

Over 15 months, from October 2017 to December 2018, many issues of misconduct – such as withholding information, fabricating evidence, acting without authority and making false reports – were seen in evidence given by many police officers. Some are included in the inquiry’s reports.

The report on Raymond, over a mere 12 pages, records at least five issues concerning serving police officers:

  1. Inspector Khor Yue Shuen, the investigating officer in the Amri case, feigned ignorance of the name and occupation of the owner of a golden Toyota Vios which features in both abductions. Khor’s initial claim that he “could not remember” that the owner was an employee of the police is not credible because he even knew the car had been photographed – by police personnel whom he dispatched – in a police compound. The owner was Saiful Bahari, a contract employee of the police force. Khor told the onquiry Saiful Bahari was an administrative assistant. Later Saiful’s supervisor, Assistant Superintendent Mohd Azizie “gave the [inquiry] the impression” Saiful was “a handyman who did cleaning and maintenance work” (Paragraphs no. 123-126).
  2. Mohd Azizie told the inquiry Saiful had taken 54 days of leave and that he gave him leave beyond his entitlement because he “had requested for it”. The panel concluded that “the purported explanation by ASP Mohd Azizie was not a satisfactory explanation” (Raymond Report, paragraph no. 127).
  3. Chief Police Officer Asri Yusoff, Senior Assistant Commissioner Fadzil Ahmat, Superintendent Hazril Kamis, Commissioner Huzir Mohammad, Assistant Superintendent Supari Muhammad – Evidence in the case of Fauzi Tajuddin, a suspect who was shot dead by the police, is “riddled with potholes” because of differences in the testimonies of these five officers: “The Panel finds that the evidence given by several police officers on the seizure of the items allegedly relating to Pastor Raymond Koh to be full of inconsistencies and material contradictions. The convoluted accounts of how the items allegedly relating to Pastor Raymond Koh were seized seemed incredulous and an affront to common sense and logic. What should have been a straightforward account of who did what and when leading up to the seizure of the items has been so distorted that the evidence simply cannot be accepted as being credible” (Paragraph 138).
  4. Hazril claimed he was sole author of a search list. However, the panel noted: “the writing below his signature in Exhibit 107A, B and C differs substantially from the handwriting listing out the items seized” (Paragraph 139.2).
  5. Sergeant Mohd Shamzaini Mohd Daud, on 30 May 2018, lodged a police report in Perlis in which he denied information which Amri’s wife Norhayati Mohd Ariffin disclosed in a police report she lodged in Shah Alam on 15 May 2018. Norhayati said in her report that the information she disclosed had been provided to her by Shamzaini. The inquiry examined Norhayati, Shamzaini and others to determine who was telling the truth. The panel wrote: “The Panel is of the view that Sgt. Shamzaini’s evidence contradicted the testimony of several witnesses” (Paragraph 148). The panel discussed the evidence over five pages in the report. The pages are peppered with words such as contradicted, incongruous, absurd, illogical, confusion, inconsistencies, odd.
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All the issues had emerged by 7 December 2018, seven months ago. Was the internal affairs department monitoring the inquiry? Have at least the above five issues been formally investigated? Have Khor, Mohd Azizie, Asri, Fadzil, Hazril, Huzir, Supari and Shamzaini been questioned?

Any action or inaction by the police against these officers must fall within the scope of the taskforce.

The mission of the integrity and standards department (JIPS) of the police includes acting as an internal affairs department, to seek out and address potential misconduct by officers. Clearly Zamri, the serving head of the integrity and standards department, is an interested party.

Caged calls upon Zamri to withdraw honourably, like his former colleague Mokhtar has.

Caged calls upon other members of the taskforce to recognise that the five issues listed above show that Zamri’s nomination signals that their collective has zero public credibility. All should withdraw.

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