COMMENT The recent release of four Sarawakians from the captivity of the Abu Sayyaf militant group has raised more questions than answers.
The question foremost in the minds of Malaysians is the role of the Malaysian police.
Since the ransom money of RM12 million was paid to the Special Branch and the money diverted to a Muslim welfare organisation, the question is whether the police were involved in an intermediary role.
Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Ahmad Hamidi said the government did not believe in paying ransom money for the release of the victims.
If this is so, then why should the Special Branch receive the money and subsequently divert the money to a Muslim welfare organisation?
Although Zahid (photo) said that there was no link between the anonymous Muslim body and the Abu Sayyaf group, there is reason to believe that the police are hiding something from the public.
Isn't it legally and morally wrong for the police to accept the ransom money on behalf of the four and then channel the money to the Muslim body?
Yes, even if the police are against the payment of the ransom money, then why accept the money in the first place?
If no ransom money was paid to the kidnappers, then even if the police had accepted the money, shouldn't the amount go back to the donors?
Why should the police divert the money to this mysterious Muslim welfare organisation?
If the militants are known not to release those in their captivity without the payment of ransom money, then how on earth was the release arranged?
Were the police behind this release? Or was there an understanding between the police and the militants?
There have been other kidnap cases in the waters of Sabah and one wonders whether the police are aware of any syndicates that have links with the militants in arranging for kidnap and then raking millions from their release.
Full and transparent disclosure
Until a full and transparent disclosure is made, it is difficult to believe the police that the Muslim welfare body has no relationship whatsoever with the militants.
The question is whether the kidnapped victims were released on the payment of the money or before.
There are reasons to believe that the Malaysian police, especially those in Sabah, are not "innocent bystanders" of this whole ugly episode.
They have information and details about the kidnap and the subsequent release of the four that they are not willing to share with the public.
If the police had played an intermediary role in the release of the four, something praiseworthy, then such information should be forthcoming.
But why take the money and pass it to some others? This is not the job of the police!
Even if the police force does not condone practices of paying ransom money, accepting the money from the families and donors is wrong and diverting the money without any transparency to a third party is something totally unacceptable.
Is Najib Abdul Razak, the prime minister of Malaysia, willing to set up an inquiry to determine as to what transpired in this kidnap episode with particular attention paid to the role of the police?
Or is he going to sweep the whole matter under the carpet just to protect those who protect him?
P RAMASAMY is Penang Deputy Chief Minister II and DAP Perai assemblyperson.