IGP should probe claims, not make dismissive jokes, says SR editor

Clare-Rewcastle-igpPETALING JAYA: The nation’s top cop should first investigate Sarawak Report’s (SR) claims before brushing them off as “concocted” reports, said the editor of the site.

Clare Rewcastle-Brown, in an email to FMT, said she was surprised at Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar’s attempts to make light of a such a serious matter.

“I have made the point that Gopi was in touch with numerous very senior officers, including himself (Khalid), prior to his (Gopi’s) arrest — quite apart from several local Melaka officers with whom he was arrested.”

Rewcastle-Brown was responding to Khalid, who yesterday rubbished her concerns about a civilian suspect in a police protection racket making phone calls to senior officers.

This was revealed in an SR article published earlier this week.

SR had alleged that the new chief of Bukit Aman’s Special Task Force for Anti-Vice, Gaming and Gangsterism (STAGG), DCP Saiful Azly Kamaruddin, had received “no less than 36 calls” from one Gopinathan Krishnan, better known as Gopi.

Gopi was one of the individuals arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in a protection racket crackdown in Melaka in May.

He was investigated as being a key “intermediary” in a police protection racket involving gambling dens and prostitution houses in Melaka.

Khalid had said there was nothing suspicious in Saiful receiving the calls from Gopi, saying he himself received “hundreds of calls” every morning from those who just wanted to wish him well.

“The IGP clearly makes no attempt to deny this nor to explain it in any significant way,” said Rewcastle-Brown.

“I am surprised he attempts to make light of what would appear to be a very serious matter in such a way and to claim he takes ‘hundreds of calls’ from all sorts of people every morning that mean nothing.

“He appears to be wasting his own precious time in the process.”

Rewcastle-Brown said Khalid’s response demonstrated a “worryingly silly and unprofessional approach” to his duties.

“(This is) given the very many sub-standard comments he has made to the media in this affair.”

She also said that SR had merely presented the facts which, in the context of the investigation into police corruption in Melaka, raised very serious issues that deserve a thorough investigation and proper explanation.

“This sort of off-the-cuff answers do not satisfy,” she said.

Rewcastle-Brown, however, is confident that if or when Khalid and his officers were officially questioned about their regular contacts with Gopi, he will provide the public and the authorities with a more “sober and factual response”, she said.

“(Gopi) had no apparent official or professional reason for calling them all on their official handphones during the course of their working days.”

Meanwhile, on Khalid’s claim that the SR report was “concocted”, Rewcastle-Brown said he should look into the facts she had provided and what lay behind them.

“(He should) not just make dismissive jokes about very serious contacts.”

SR had, in another report last month, also alleged that Gopi was in direct telephone contact with Khalid, his brother-in-law and his son.

The IGP had admitted that some of his family members knew Gopi, but said despite this connection, anyone found to be involved in illegal activities would still have to face the music.