Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (Caged) also urges the police to tell the public what actions they have taken in response to the Suhakam inquiry report.
International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances fell on 30 August 2020.
On that day, it was 515 days since the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) published its decision that Amri Che Mat and Raymond Koh were victims of Enforced Disappearance in Malaysia.
Specifically, Suhakam said Amri and Raymond were “abducted by State agents, namely the Special Branch [of the Royal Malaysian Police], Bukit Aman” (Suhakam Final Decision on Amri Che Mat, paragraph 32).
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The image of the police has been affected badly by the evidence adduced during the Suhakam inquiry and the inevitable conclusions.
On the day the Suhakam decision was released, Hamid Bador, then head of the Special Branch, Bukit Aman, was reported to have said: “I feel stressed at what was expressed by Suhakam for connecting the branch with illegal actions.” He added a special team had been set up to investigate the allegations (New Straits Times, citing Bernama).
On 30 August 2020, it was 431 days since then Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced the formation of a task force, the terms of reference of which were never published. When he announced it on 26 June 2019, it had six members, three of whom were connected with the police. All were Malay-Muslim men.
After much public protest over conflict of interest, one of the members, the man who headed the legal division of the police during the Suhakam inquiry, did the honourable thing. He resigned. Muhyiddin then added two members: one Chinese male and one female. This was to “balance” the ethnic and gender composition of the taskforce.
Muhyiddin said the taskforce was given six months to look into the disappearance of Amri. (He was reported to have said Raymond Koh was out of scope of the taskforce, purportedly because a person was being charged in court.)
The six months expired on 26 December 2019. According to news reports, Muhyiddin granted the request of the taskforce for a two-month extension. Therefore, the report of the task force should have been submitted to Muhyiddin on 26 February 2020.
Six months have expired since 26 February. Yet, there is no news about the findings of the taskforce.
Members of the police deserve better. They deserve to have wrongdoers in their ranks dealt with in a manner proportionate to the wrongdoings – in this case, the serious crime of abduction, which attracts punishment of up to seven years in prison.
To mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, we call upon the Malaysian government, headed now by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, to make public the findings of the taskforce.
Further, we call upon Hamid Bador, now inspector general of police, to tell the public what actions the police have taken in response to the Suhakam report.