PUTRAJAYA, Oct 18 ― The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) published today evidence of corruption along the Malaysia-Thai border in Perlis involving local law enforcement agencies facilitating smugglers.
After combing through thousands of hours in surveillance footage from 2017 until May 2019, the agency condensed the captured smuggling activities into an 11-minute highlight reel that it played at a press conference here today.
The video showed how smugglers would wait along the border fence along Padang Besar, Perlis and periodically carry gunny sacks allegedly containing items such as subsidised flour, cooking oil, fertiliser, diesel, and petrol out of Malaysia. Other items include ketum leaves.
MACC chief Latheefa Koya said today there was substantial evidence of collusion by authorities, which her commission has submitted to the Royal Malaysia Police for its action.
“It’s evident today from the videos how easily our borders are breached,” said Latheefa.
“On both sides you can see bikes, cars as well as trucks waiting for the delivery of smuggled goods and they’re even equipped with walkie-talkies.
“These smugglers are conducting their activities close to the security posts on each side and despite the patrol cars passing by they still continue their activities.
“So what we are seeing here is blatant corruption,” added Latheefa.
The videos also showed Malaysian police personnel ignoring smugglers as they drove past with the smuggled goods.
Some are seen waving them through while others on duty sat engrossed with their smartphones in the security room engross as alleged smugglers worked unhindered.
MACC Forensic Department Audio Visual chief Badri Azni explained that the smugglers would cut the fence along the border with relative ease and would conduct their activities usually from 6am till 6pm.
“Items like daun ketum are cheap here at RM18 per kg and when sold in Thailand they'd sell it for RM100. When you include other items like fuel and flour it adds up to a significant amount resulting in losses in the economy for Malaysia.
“After they've done with the smuggling they would spray water on the roads to clear their foot tracks,” said Badri as the video showed the smugglers doing so with hoses.
“We have thus gathered all the evidence and will pass them to the relative authorities like the police and we are also working closely with other agencies to continue our observations,” he added.
When pressed to say why MACC was revealing this now Latheefa said it was due to the amount of footage amassed that required careful screening to extract the needed evidence.
Latheefa also stressed that today’s release did not mean the MACC was done with the matter, saying her agency was also monitoring the country’s other entry and exit points.
“We're exposing them so they know they are being watched as you can tell by the video, they are quite oblivious now.”
On the identities of the smugglers, she said this has not been determined but added that Immigrations and Customs have been alerted to the matter and are cooperating.
“These activities along the borders are very dangerous. If you look at the Wang Kelian case where there were murders and killings we had to be careful how we handled the evidence and had to check them properly and narrow down their methods,” said Latheefa.
“We do not know where the smuggled items are heading to for now but this investigations are still ongoing.”
The amount of smuggled goods have not been ascertained as well as Latheefa said it's difficult to calculate at the moment but they have sent their evidence to the police and let them decide what's the next course of action.
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