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Bodies In Padang Besar Mass Grave Still Being Exhumed

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KUALA LUMPUR – The forensic unit of the Royal Malaysian police (PDRM) is still exhuming the mass graves found in Padang Besar, Perlis, to identify whether they are Rohingya refugees or Bangladeshi victims of human traffickers.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said forensic tests would also be conducted to determine the number of bodies buried in graves near the 17 tents that are believed to be used to house refugees.

“The same forensic division went to Ukraine, so they have a lot of experience in identifying details and forensic materials,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby, here, today.

He said the authorities here were working closely with their Thai counterparts to share information on individuals who were behind human trafficking who have escaped to Thailand or into the country.

“This cooperation and information exchange is not only solely on a legal matter but also a humanitarian issue,” he added.

Yesterday, the Home Ministry confirmed the discovery of the graves by the General Operations Force (GOF) and VAT 69 police commando unit which found 14 large tents and three smaller tents located on the Malaysia-Thailand border.

In another development, Ahmad Zahid said his statement asking the Penang government to prove its sincerity in championing human rights by giving temporary shelter to the stranded Rohingyas and Bangladeshis, was not a political statement.

He said opposition leaders who often championed human rights on the political stage and in the Dewan Rakyat should translate what they had been championing into action instead of passing the burden to other parties.

Yesterday, Ahmad Zahid while commenting on the statement by the Inspector- General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, on Friday who suggested Penang as the best location to house the 7,000 Rohingya refugees, said the Immigration Department had identified several locations, including Penang, to house the refugees.

However, Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, wanted the refugees housed in federal government-owned land as the state was lacking in space. – BERNAMA

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