80pc of enforcers manning borders on the take (3.6.15)

PADANG BESAR 01 June 2015. Pihak Kastam dan Imigresen tidak menjalankan pemeriksaan yang ketat kepada kenderaan yang keluar masuk ke Thailand dan Malaysia di Kompleks ICQ Padang Besar. NSTP/Eizairi Shamsudin

PADANG BESAR 01 June 2015. Pihak Kastam dan Imigresen tidak menjalankan pemeriksaan yang ketat kepada kenderaan yang keluar masuk ke Thailand dan Malaysia di Kompleks ICQ Padang Besar. NSTP/Eizairi Shamsudin

A CONTROVERSIAL report compiled by the Special Branch revealed that a staggering 80 per cent of the nation’s security personnel and law enforcement officers at Malaysian borders are corrupt.

This shocking revelation is the result of 10 years of covert, deep-cover surveillance and intelligence gathering by the Special Branch at the nation’s border checkpoints, and at different enforcement agencies throughout the country, including the Immigration Department, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), the Anti-Smuggling Unit (UPP) and the police’s General Operations Force.

Sources within the Special Branch told the New Straits Times that these personnel were not only on the take, but many were on the payroll of syndicates dealing with drugs, weapons and even human smuggling.

The Special Branch, which is tasked with providing intelligence for the country’s enforcement agencies to act on, had, over the years, shared crucial information with these agencies. However, on many occasions, they were not followed through, for reasons known only to these agencies that were fed intel.

The Special Branch said the problem faced in arresting corruption among law enforcers — many of whom work hand-in-glove — was exacerbated by the fact that since the abolishment of the Internal Security Act (ISA), it was only provisioned to deal with the problem using the Anti-Trafficking on Persons Act-Smuggling of Migrants and Security Offences and Special Measures Act (Sosma).

This, the Special Branch said, did not have the “bite” and scope of the pre-emptive law, and the level of proof expected by the courts was “extremely high”.

“We are dealing with smugglers with a very intricate network … and we are expected to catch them red-handed in the act if we want to secure a conviction.

“Yes, Sosma allows witnesses to testify on-camera, but their testimonies can easily be traced back to them. That is why many of our witnesses refuse to cooperate.

“Even relying on signals intelligence (SIGINT), like phone intercepts, is difficult as the identity of our men handling the chain of evidence will have to be made known. We cannot afford to expose our men who deal with highly confidential processes and intel,” a top-ranking official said.

The Special Branch had, since 2009, used the ISA against the snakeheads of human smuggling as well as enforcement officers who aided them and closed their eyes at the entry of unsavoury characters.

Among the major coups for the Special Branch was 2011’s arrest of eight Immigration Department officers based at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport under the ISA for their alleged involvement in a multi-million ringgit human trafficking operation. That bust yielded a treasure-trove of intelligence.

During one interrogation session, one of the suspects was asked the simple question: “Who else are under the payroll of the syndicate?”

“It would be easier if you asked us for the names of officers who were not on the take,” was the bone-chilling reply.

“The only ‘clean’ officers are the ones who double up as imam and bilal at the surau.”

This damning indictment had done little to arrest the problem.

The eight, who had since been dismissed from civil service, had their detention order revoked only a few months after serving time in Kamunting.

Another former ISA detainee revealed how the syndicate would set aside RM70,000 every month to grease the palms of enforcement agencies, including Immigration and UPP officers who were on their payroll. The payoff to UPP is to ensure that the migrants are funnelled through this final screening point quickly to avoid raising the suspicion of straight-laced officers.

The detainee, known only as Ash, said that they also had special “arrangements” with the Marine Police and MMEA. The syndicate would be given details of the scheduled patrols for a small fee. Should they be intercepted by these patrol boats, an “emergency stash” of RM10,000 always came in handy.

“The enemy we have to fight is one that operates as an institution … we are dealing with institutionalised corruption that is so deeply entrenched, that expecting internal disciplining is like asking the chief crook to rat out on his runners,” the official said.

The branch revealed to the NST that human smugglers released from incarceration at the Kamunting Detention Camp following the abolishment of the ISA (authorities were then ready to recommend an extended detention for unrepentant smugglers) back in the business, which promises lucrative returns.

While the Special Branch is not optimistic that the problem would be reined in any time soon, it said there was still hope if enforcement agencies that were fed intel for them to act on would actually act on them.

Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/node/86779

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