KL forms panel to probe 2015 discovery of mass graves, human trafficking of Rohingya in Perlis

VIDEO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PUTRAJAYA - Malaysia on Tuesday (March 5) formed a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to formally probe the shocking discovery in 2015 of mass graves and human trafficking activities in northern Perlis state, with the victims believed to be stateless Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

Malaysia's Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin handed appointment letters to the seven panel members, saying the new government is committed to uncovering the truth and bringing the culprits to justice, Malay Mail online news reported.

"To show our seriousness, we need to appoint experienced, learned and credible members to the RCI," he said in his speech, as reported by the news site.

"With it, we hope to find answers to the questions surrounding the incident... and the law can take its due course so this inhumane activity will not happen again."

The gruesome discovery of over 100 graves and detention camps in forests near the Malaysia-Thai border in Wang Kelian, Perlis, led to suspicions of collusion involving some officials on both sides of the border.

The New Straits Times in 2017 said the issue was "the most horrific case of human trafficking, torture and mass killings to have occurred on our soil".

Hundreds if not thousands of Rohingya annually cross into Malaysia by land or sea from Thailand, with many handled by human trafficking syndicates.

 

Last week, 34 Rohingya were found on a beach in Malaysia, after wading to shore from a boat believed to be controlled by human traffickers.

Malaysia on Tuesday named former chief justice Tun Arifin Zakaria as chairman of the RCI, with former police chief Tan Sri Norian Mai its deputy chairman, Malay Mail reported.

Its other members are former chief government prosecutor Noorbahri Baharuddin, current chief commissioner of the Malaysia Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) Razali Ismail, former head of research at the Attorney-General's Chambers Junaidah Abdul Rahman, former ambassador to Thailand Nazirah Hussin, and former MP for the Democratic Action Party Tan Seng Giaw.