DIGOS CITY, Philippines – Putrajaya, the federal administrative center of Malaysia, has remained mum on the abuses by Malaysian policemen in Sabah as of Monday as the state’s police commissioner struggled to deny that Filipinos were being killed on the streets or had been brutally handled.
For two straights days, Sabah Police Commissioner Hamza Taib had been making the rounds of the state’s radio stations and talking to journalists to stress his earlier denial of state forces “dragging people like animals out of their homes or shooting them indiscriminately.”
Speaking over a Sabah-based radio station, over which, he also spoke on Sunday, Hamza directly trashed the claims by saying there was no grain of truth that members of the Polis Diraja Malaysia (Malaysian Royal Police) had killed innocent people nor had been arbitrarily detaining locals with Filipino blood.
Describing the claims, including one made by Mykad holder Amira Taradji about how her brother, Jumadil, was allegedly shot dead during a police raid on their community in Sandakan last week, Hamza said: “It was not part of (standard operating procedure).”
“I strongly deny that,” he added.
Earlier on Sunday, Hamza hinted the Sabah Police Commission was not keen on investigating the claims saying “it could be the handiwork of people trying to discredit the gains of Ops Daulat.”
“You can ask people around and find for yourself if these reports are true,” Hamza said over the same radio station.
He said allegations of human rights abuses by Malaysian security forces in connection with the Sabah crisis started to surface late last month and was capped by a video showing some men in camouflage uniform slashing the throat of a man they had shot dead. In the latter part of the video clip, the men were seen shooting some people and then stepped over their bodies.
Hamza said even if the video was taken from an actual incident, he could “say with confidence that it was not definitely from Sabah or any part of Malaysia.”
Hamza did not deny that there had been several incidents where Malaysian policemen were involved in abuses but added that those committed them had already been sanctioned.
“There is nothing going on in Sandakan, so what is there left for me to clarify?” he said.
The chief of the Malaysian police had declined to issue any more comment on the reported brutality by Malaysian policemen as they swooped into Filipino communities in Tawau, Kunak, Sandakan and Lahad Datu in search of Sabah-based supporters of the Sulu sultanate’s “royal army,” saying he had already made an earlier denial.