GEORGE TOWN: Police today promised to conduct a professional and transparent investigation into Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali’s failure to observe a 14-day quarantine after returning from Turkey last month.
Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador also said more witnesses would be called in the next few days.
“These witnesses are those aware of the minister’s offence,” he said after opening a narcotics chiefs’ conference at a hotel here today.
Hamid said there was no time frame to complete the investigations, adding that he did not want to put pressure on his officers.
Khairuddin had drawn flak from all quarters for skipping quarantine after Seputeh MP Teresa Kok revealed in the Dewan Rakyat that he had attended several public functions after his Turkey trip.
He has since apologised and pledged four months’ salary to the Covid-19 relief fund.
The health ministry has penalised him with an RM1,000 fine, saying it was the maximum it could mete out.
As of Aug 23, a total of 27 reports had been lodged with the police over the matter.
A-G’s report on inactive helicopters
Meanwhile, Hamid said the recent auditor-general’s (A-G) findings that large sums of money were paid to service inactive helicopters had been duly explained.
He stressed that there was no hanky-panky, following the report that police overpaid the monthly helicopter maintenance of RM105,875 for 19 months although they had been inactive for more than six months.
Hamid said the payment was made by the home ministry and was merely fulfilling the obligations of a contract, and the matter had been discussed at an A-G’s exit conference.
He said the A-G’s other red flag concerning an RM2.7 million payment for new photographic equipment spare parts in excess of the RM210,000 limit set would be looked into.
“The A-G is right in pointing out there were some SOPs not followed by officers,” he said.
Separately, Hamid said the traffic policeman seen kicking down a motorcyclist evading a roadblock in Sibu, Sarawak, in a viral video would be investigated.
He reminded his men to practise restraint and patience.
“I understand the public’s concern that excessive force has been used on the motorist,” he said, adding that the policeman could have done it in a knee-jerk reaction.
Earlier, Hamid called on the government to improve the staffing of the police’s narcotics department from the present 5,000-odd to at least 16,000 to combat the drug scourge.
“The narcotics team is only 5% of the force,” he said.
He said while the current team had busted 144 drug trafficking syndicates to date, it had been stretched thin in terms of manpower, vehicles and other equipment required.
He also called for more stringent laws to curb drug offences, saying he would meet the attorney-general soon to discuss the matter.