KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has ordered investigations into the 2015 Wang Kelian tragedy to be revisited to determine if Malaysian enforcement officers were in cahoots with human trafficking syndicates, or had tried to cover up the case.
The New Straits Times Special Probes Team, in a one-on-one with Zahid, who is also Home Minister, shared with him findings it had collated over the past two years, including the dark secrets that had laid buried.
They included the glaring discrepancies over what had actually transpired, the diverging timelines and contradicting statements from witnesses and those directly involved.
“Definitely, investigations into this must be carried out. I want the authorities to get to the bottom of this.
“There will be no closing of the ‘Wang Kelian file’”.
“The investigations have to be detailed out and the IPs (investigation papers) have to be compiled for legal action to be taken, especially against those who are directly, or indirectly, involved... including our own officers,” Zahid said, adding that it would not be confined to just an internal probe, but would include legal action.
The Home Ministry, Zahid said, would be watching closely the developments of this unfolding expose.
During the sit-down, Zahid asked the team for some of the names that had surfaced in the course of our investigation.
We named a few, and he repeated them.
Zahid told the team that the authorities had applied, through official channels, for Mutual Legal Assistance from the Thai authorities, to extradite 10 people who were allegedly directly involved in the Wang Kelian case.
He had also met his Thai counterpart to that end.
So far, two Thais, including the Padang Besar mayor, had been dragged to court for their alleged roles in what had been confirmed as the biggest tragedy involving a human trafficking racket.
Eight more, whom Zahid had mentioned, are still at large.
“To date, the Thais have not handed them over,” he said.
As Zahid got up to leave for his next meeting, he turned around to us and said: “I hope your articles will uncover the truth.”