Cops can’t investigate themselves, CAGED says over Amri’s disappearance

Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun.

PETALING JAYA: Civil society group Citizen Action Group on Enforced Disappearance (CAGED) has hit out at the police over their response on an officer who refused to testify at the inquiry into the disappearance of activist Amri Che Mat, saying it has further eroded public confidence in the force.

It cited reports which quoted top cop Mohamad Fuzi Harun as saying that the officer in question, Saiful Bahari, was only a contract worker and not a member of the Special Branch unit.

Fuzi also said the matter had been referred to the deputy public prosecutor, and that the police would await instruction.

“Fuzi’s response further erodes public confidence in the police,” CAGED said.

“He and his officers are suspects. When a finding of guilt will result in many losses to themselves, how can they investigate themselves objectively?

“We hope the DPP will join us and remind Fuzi of what police recruits are taught from Day One: suspects can’t investigate themselves,” it said in a statement.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), in its inquiry into the disappearance of Amri and several others, held on April 3 that the activist was a victim of enforced disappearance.

It named Bukit Aman’s Special Branch as responsible for his abduction, saying this was based on the testimony of Amri’s wife, Norhayati Mohd Ariffin.

Norhayati had testified that a Special Branch officer from Perlis, Sergeant Shamzaini Mohd Daud, told her on the night of May 12, 2018 that it was the Special Branch in Kuala Lumpur which carried out the abduction.

Saiful was supposed to testify at the inquiry as well but failed to show up, prompting Suhakam to accuse the police of not cooperating.

However, Fuzi said it was unfair to accuse the police of lacking the initiative to locate witnesses as they had tried without success.

CAGED said there were other questions arising from the inquiry which Fuzi should address to restore public confidence in the police.

These include why the investigating officer said Saiful was an “administrative assistant” at a police centre in Kuala Lumpur whereas Saiful’s supervisor at the Bukit Aman Special Branch said he was a low-level general handyman.

CAGED also asked why the supervisor had given Saiful “an extraordinary 54 days’ leave”, and why the investigating officer initially told the inquiry that he did not know Saiful’s occupation.

“The members of the Royal Malaysian Police, and all who are in Malaysia, deserve an IGP whom they can trust.”