Zahid tarnished our reputation, cops say over letter on gambling kingpin

Zahid tarnished our reputation, cops say over letter on gambling kingpin




Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had sent a letter to the FBI vouching for a Malaysian gambling kingpin charged with illegal betting in the US.

Disbelief has turned to anger among members of the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) who feel the force's reputation has been tarnished by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi with his letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) vouching for a Malaysian gambling kingpin charged with illegal betting in the US.

Police are upset that Zahid's letter contradicted intelligence work on Paul Phua Wei Seng, whom police have found to be involved in triad activity, and who is now facing illegal sports betting charges in Las Vegas, Nevada, after being arrested during the FIFA World Cup 2014.
Zahid had also failed to follow procedure in issuing the letter to the FBI unilaterally, as well as not checking facts on Phua before sending it, they said.
A senior police officer told The Malaysian Insider that as the home minister, Zahid should have sought legal advice before penning the letter.
"When the issue first broke, there was initially disbelief in the police force that an official report from the RMP had been dismissed by Zahid," the officer said.
"Later, as the issue expanded and Umno lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah gave a press conference, the disbelief turned to laughter and then anger.
"Whatever credibility the police force have is being torn to shreds as the public is questioning the contradicting statements coming from Malaysia over Phua," the high-ranking officer said.
A copy of the letter and an article on it was first published by the South China Morning Post.
In the letter, Zahid had not only cleared Phua but said he had helped the government in national security projects. Zahid had been severely condemned by many quarters for acting unilaterally and for abusing his office.
The issue became serious enough that Putrajaya ordered Phua's lawyers to retract Zahid's letter from the Nevada District Court where it was tendered as part of Phua's defence.
The Malaysian Insider has also learnt that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had met with Zahid, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail over the matter.
However, the senior police officer could only confirm that a meeting between Najib and Khalid had taken place, adding that he did not know what transpired.
"There is a proper procedure to be followed which is clearly stated in the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2002 (Macma)," he told The Malaysian Insider.
The officer said there was no such procedure for Zahid to write directly to the FBI and for his letter to be immediately admissible in court.
Furthermore, the officer said, Zahid was writing in his capacity as the Home Minister, not as an individual.
"There are proper procedures which should be followed in such cases as courts abroad will not just permit such letters to be legally admissible.
"Furthermore, there are police personnel who find the entire saga to be a farce as Zahid had not consulted the police before writing the letter.
"The reputation of the police force is in tatters as Zahid is apparently contradicting a police report which had been submitted to the FBI in 2008."
The allegation that Phua was a member of the Hong Kong 14K triad was based on an FBI internal document previously submitted to the court, according to the police.
Malaysian police are reported to have informed the FBI’s representative in Kuala Lumpur of Phua's ties with the criminal organisation.
“The RMP has identified the 14K Triad as a local, organised crime syndicate involved in illegal drugs, illegal gambling and money laundering activities in Malaysia,” the internal FBI document, dated July 17, 2008, read.
However, Zahid had refuted these allegations in his letter when he said Phua was neither a member of the triad, nor was he associated with it in Malaysia, nor did the triad exist in Malaysia.
Indirectly, Khalid had appeared to be defending police findings concerning Phua.
While he said that the 14K triad did not exist in Malaysia, he told news portal Malaysiakini that "there are Malaysians abroad who are known to be members of the triad."
"How people wish to interpret this statement (above) is up to them,” Khalid had said, according to Malaysiakini. – January 10, 2015.

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/zahid-tarnished-our-reputation-cops-say-over-letter-on-gambling-kingpin#sthash.E2VWlQTz.dpuf