Tingkayu, Kunak Land Grab

KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernand Dompok has instructed the Public Complaints Bureau to conduct an immediate probe on allegations of power abuse by senior police officers in a land-grab issue at Kampung Tingkayu in Kunak, Sabah.

Dompok said the affected smallholder who had worked on the land for the past 23 years met him in Parliament on Tuesday and briefed him on the issue.

“This is a very serious matter as it involves senior police officers. I’ve instructed the bureau’s director-general Dr Chua Hong Teck to look into the complaint. We guarantee a fair probe. The bureau will treat the complainant fairly as promised in the bureau’s clients’ charter,” he said today.

Dompok said the bureau would convene a special meeting this week to discuss the matter.

“If it is proven that the said police officers misused their power, stern action would be taken against them, as nobody is above the law. The bureau will be cooperating with other relevant agencies once the investigation started and all should give their fullest cooperation,” he said, adding that “we don’t want to see public trust towards the authorities fade.”

In April, Bernama reported that a top-ranking senior law enforcement officer, who is a “datuk”, and police officers in Kunak are being investigated by the Sabah Anti-Corruption Agency for allegedly offering “protection services” to a real estate company which allegedly seized 787 hectares (about 4,000 acres) of oil palm land belonging to smallholders.

In exchange for their “services”, the company, which is also involved in money lending, had reportedly given the officers kickbacks and other benefits, including its company shares.

Bernama also reported that the company concerned had employed more than 100 illegal immigrants who doubled as thugs to seize the land worth about RM40 million and more then 40 police reports were lodged between January and March this year at the Kunak police station, but there had been no follow-up action.

It is learnt that the state government would also be briefed on the issue as the smallholders have alleged that a few officers of the land and survey department might be involved in the scandal.

Meanwhile, one smallholder who wished to be known as Anthony, 50, said that an official complaint letter was handed to the Home Ministry on Thursday.

“In the letter we have asked the minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to take appropriate action against the police officers who failed to discharge their duty and abused their power.

“We have all the evidence to prove that the complaints made were true and we hope our nightmare will end soon,” he added. — Bernama

Source Malaysian Insider

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