Police to verify claim Muar officers protecting vice

BY BEN TAN
Mohd Khalil (right) said action will be taken if there is strong evidence linking the two police officers with the allegations. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, March 14 — Police said today they would launch a separate corruption investigation against two senior officers in Muar accused of receiving bribes to ignore vice, amid a defamation probe against the accusers.

Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said the parallel investigation will be launched by the state police’s Integrity and Standard Compliance Department (JIPS) and action will be taken if there is strong evidence linking the two police officers with the allegations.

“Initial investigations revealed that there was no proof yet to support the allegations that the two police officers and also the Immigration Department officer concerned were receiving bribes or were protecting criminal elements at entertainment centres in Muar.

“However, if there is any evidence of wrongdoing, police will take a serious view of the allegations as it involves our officers and is a matter of public interest,” he told Malay Mail today.

Investigations are now centred on the individuals who posted the allegations on Facebook under Section 500 of the Penal Code for defamation and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for improper use of network facilities.

On the investigation progress, Mohd Khalil said police have already identified the individuals responsible for the posts and have asked the respective Facebook administrators to come forward in assisting investigators.

“We (police) are still in the midst of investigations and have already summoned the administrators to record their statements,” he said.

It was learnt that police have contacted two Facebook page administrators, where one has been identified as a Muar community page that shared the alleged defamatory post.

Mohd Khalil, who is known for his strict approach on matters relating to the state police’s integrity, said there are proper channels for reporting allegations against enforcement agency officers.

He said the individuals who made the Facebook posts should have proof to back their allegations that should be reported to the police and to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), as the allegations involved government servants.

“I urge the public to be fair in their claims and use the existing channels to report matters concerning such allegations of abuse by police,” said Mohd Khalil.

Meanwhile, Johor Immigration Department director Datuk Rohaizi Bahari said he was aware of the allegations and will leave it to the police to investigate.

“My department and the officer concerned will fully cooperate with police. We will take the same stand as the police on the matter,” he said when contacted.

Malay Mail reported today that the two implicated police officers and one Immigration Department officer had lodged police reports, after Facebook posts emerged last month accusing them to be on the take for protecting criminal elements involved in drugs, gambling and prostitution in Muar.

The police officers, with the rank of Assistant Superintendent, have been identified as the Muar district police’s Anti-Vice, Gambling and Secret Societies Division and Narcotics Criminal Investigations Department heads. The Immigration Department officer, who was also named in the allegation, was the department’s Muar district head.

In the post, the allegations centered on several entertainment outlets that were mainly located in Muar town.

Among them named were the Grand Marquis Club, Fifty Two Bites and Luxy de’ Cube.