Two years ago, on 3 April 2019, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) concluded that the alleged Shiite activist Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh were disappeared by the Special Branch of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM).
Commissioners Aishah Bidin, Nik Salida Suhaila and Mah Weng Kwai did not make that unanimous conclusion lightly.
They made that conclusion after an exhaustive, exhausting 18-month inquiry.
They made that conclusion knowing their professional reputations and indeed the reputation of the Yang diPertuan Agung who appointed them would be tarnished if they did slipshod work.
They made that conclusion believing the leadership of PDRM and the government needed to know the truth about what the Special Branch did, and that they would act to restore the reputation of PDRM.
At that time, the Home Minister was Muhyiddin Yassin and the Prime Minister was Mahathir. Both promised to act on Suhakam’s conclusions.
Muhyiddin formed a “task force” to look into Suhakam’s findings. (Not what Suhakam recommended, which was to pursue angles which the police failed to pursue.)
The seven member “task force” included multiple persons who had conflicts of interest. Also, it was gender-biased, race-biased and religion-biased.
The terms of reference of the “task force” were veiled in secrecy, except for one thing: it would look only into the case of Amri, not Raymond'. Why? Because someone “had been charged” for Raymond’s abduction.
Now that someone has been discharged from court proceedings, just as we all knew would happen.
The “task force,” chaired by former High Court judge Rahim Uda, issued no statements. Based on one news report, we think it completed its work and submitted its report to Muhyiddin in January 2020.
What actions have been taken by the government and by PDRM in response to the findings of the “task force”?
Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and the Cabinet must make public the report of the task force.
According to Inspector General of Police Hamid Bador, there is a cartel which is up to mischief in PDRM. Is the same cartel responsible for enforced disappearances in Malaysia?
The public must be given substantive reasons to believe that others are not also being disappeared by the Special Branch of PDRM.
Now, when someone goes missing in Malaysia, people immediately ask “Why did the Special Branch disappear them?” That’s the state of public opinion and will continue if no action is taken against errant officers.
When will the top leadership of PDRM and the Cabinet act to restore the reputation of PDRM, which has been so battered by Suhakam’s findings?
Release the findings of the “task force” and publicly commit to right the wrongs.