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Noh Omar’s claim that he did
not know the nationality of the squadgate scandal victim contradicted by
Deputy Minister Chia Kwang Chye who gave three flimsy reasons for
withholding the vital information
by Lim Kit Siang
The three reasons given by Chia in Penang yesterday why the Police withheld the vital information about the nationality of the woman victim were, firstly, the general perception that the woman victim was a Chinese national because of the mass media reporting plus the coincidence of the allegation by the four Chinese woman nationals of police abuses of power; secondly, the Prime Minister has announced the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry and thirdly, the dispatch of Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid to China to clarify that there is no profiling against Chinese visitors and tourists in Malaysia. (Sin Chew Daily)
None of the three reasons given by Chia can be accepted as adequate reason or justification for the withholding of the vital information about the nationality of the woman victim to Parliament, the Chinese government and the Malaysian public for 20 days, but they serve as confirmation that there had been such withholding of the vital information.
The question is whether Noh Omar was privy to such withholding of the vital information, or was he completely in the dark about the nationality of the woman victim until it was disclosed at the second day of the Commission of Inquiry on Dec. 13 as he claimed – which is so unbelievable for three reasons:
Firstly, if Chia Kwang Chye knows the reasons – however weak and flimsy – for the withholding of the vital information, why should Noh Omar be ignorant when he was the Deputy Internal Security Minister who had been handling this issue inside and outside Parliament all this while?
Secondly, at the Commission of Inquiry hearing last Tuesday, Lance Corporal Mat Suhaimi Nordin testified that he told Chief Inspector Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman (the officer in charge of the Petaling Jaya police station) on Nov. 25 that the woman victim was not a Chinese national as reported in the media but was a Malay girl. (NST 14.12.05). This is proof that the police knew almost immediately, if not very much earlier, about the nationality of the woman victim.
Thirdly, Noh Omar has confirmed that he had received police report which he was to table in Parliament on Nov. 28 in expectation of an urgent debate by DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok, but which was rejected by the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Ramli Ngah. Noh claims that the nationality of the woman victim was not mentioned. Had the Police deliberately and irresponsibly withheld this vital information from Noh?
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has thrown new light yesterday when he commented when asked why the police had not revealed the nationality of the woman to avoid confusion: “Do you think the people will believe the police in this situation. With all the reports in the media, there were no way for the people to believe the police. That is why, I suggested that an independent committee be set up to conduct an investigation.”
Abdullah’s judgment was correct, that such a police announcement would have very little public credibility – just as Noh’s claim that he did not know about the victim’s nationality until the disclosure at the Commission of Inquiry on December 13 has very little public credibility.
The Prime Minister’s decision to set up an independent Commission of Inquiry was the right and proper one in the circumstances. However, it should have been done without withholding the information from Parliament, the Chinese Government and the Malaysian people – with Azmi making the ridiculous statement in Beijing on 6th December “We still do not know whether she is a Malaysian or a foreigner. Even if she is an illegal, I will give her a pass to stay in Malaysia so that she can be a witness” (Star 7.12.05). The information should be made public and a Commission of Inquiry established to ascertain the truth or otherwise of the police revelation of the nationality of the victim.
Abdullah’s statement is again another confirmation that the government knew about the nationality of the woman victim before the decision was taken and announced about the establishment of the independent commission of inquiry on November 29.
Was Noh Omar kept completely in the dark about this vital information – which would be a serious reflection on his capability and competence as the de facto Cabinet member responsible for this issue, with Abdullah unable to devote much time because of his onerous commitments as Prime Minister and Finance Minister to his responsibility as Internal Security Minister in charge of the police?
Be that as it may, Noh Omar is invited to the Parliamentary Roundtable on Squatgate Scandal on police human rights violations of detainees in custody to be held in Parliament House (Bilek Taklimat) tomorrow (Tuesday 20th December 2005) at 10.30 am, where he can answer the many questions concerning his role and responsibility in connection with the police squatgate scandal.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman