Journalist frustrated not being named the first to expose Wang Kelian
Last Update: 31/01/2019
GEORGE TOWN, Jan 31 (Bernama) -- An award-winning journalist today expressed his frustration for not being given due recognition for being the first in exposing the migrant prison camps and mass graves in Wang Kelian Perlis.
S. Arulldas, a former Malay Mail journalist said that recent news reports about the issue did not mention anything about his efforts, as well as his photographer, Sayuti Zainudin, as being the first to visit and report about Wang Kelian on March 9, 2015.
“We have risked our lives and underwent so much of pain to expose the migrant prison camps and the mass graves, where about 400 security personnel and relevant agencies exhumed a total of 139 bodies from the graves.
“I do not understand why they (the news reports) failed to give due recognition or give the credit to Malay Mail or me and our photographer for the risk, pain, suffering and life threatening situation in exposing the inhumane acts," he told reporters here today.
Arulldas was commenting on a recent news report to announce the government's appointment of Royal Commission of Inquiry, it stated that "In May 2015, police announced the discovery of human-trafficking camps and mass graves in Wang Kelian."
He shared that initially they went to Perlis in December 2014 to check on some illegal immigrant issues but during their break at a coffee shop in Jitra, they overheard talks among local residents that there were some big human-trafficking camps in Wang Kelian.
"I immediately arranged a time with my photographer to climb up the hill in deep jungle to find out (more about) the mass graves, but we failed on our first few attempts and we gave up the idea after we almost lost our way (in the jungle)," he said.
He said they did not give up on the challenge and on May 13, with the help of two men from Thailand, they managed to reach the site through the Padang Besar check point.
"Throughout that period, we produced more than 100 special reports exposing the inhumane acts of the human trafficking syndicates and the injustices done against the migrants who were in search of greener pastures," he said.
He added that Malay Mail during the time carried several stories, stating that it discovered and exposed the sites and no one disputed their claims. Nonetheless, he said another local English daily had claimed credit that they were the one who exposed the site.
In 2015, Arulldas and his photographer Sayuti won two awards, An Outstanding Reporting by Human Rights Commission of Malaysia and Best Investigative Report by the Malaysian Press Institute-Petronas Awards for exposing the migrant prison camps and the mass graves in Wang Kelian.