The Inspector-General of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar, has been accused of sensationalising the issue of RM12 million ransom paid for the release of four kidnapped Sarawakians.
Lim Lip Eng, MP for Segambut, said Khalid had “never learned to shut his big mouth” about the money and said the IGP was attempting to politicise the issue by blaming opposition parties.
Lim wanted the Cabinet to punish Khalid, and said he intended to file a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate what happened to the money.
The families of the four kidnap victims and the Sarawak community are believed to have raised RM12 million for their release. Conflicting reports have arisen about what then happened.
Deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the money had been handed to “the police Special Branch” to pass on to a Muslim welfare group in the Philippines. However Khalid denied that the police or the Special Branch had received the money or that a ransom had been paid.
Khalid said it was not the government’s policy to pay ransom. Lim said he agreed with the government’s policy. But he accused Khalid of having allowed the matter to be “blown up”.
“If not because of Khalid who from the very beginning, denied that the police received the ransom from family members and told the media to get the answer directly from the family, I believe this matter would not have blown up to this extent,” Lim said yesterday.
The Abu Sayyaf militant group kidnapped the four Sarawakians from a tugboat in the waters off Sabah.
Khalid had denied reports that the police or the Special Branch had received the RM12 million raised by the family members from public donations as well as the sale of family property.
“Khalid has never learnt when to shut his big mouth,” Lim said. “He should have just said ‘no comment’ when asked by the press about the ransom.” Khalid was also attempting to politicise the issue, Lim said.
Khalid had blamed an unspecified political party for complicating the work of the police in this matter, saying that the party had broadcast its attempts to collect donations, thus placing the ball in the militants’ court.