How long will the ministers and their ministries keep their silence on Mr Mohan’s extradition to Malaysia?

No POFMA on TOC's story despite its virality, so Mr Mohan's story is definitely true

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan (Left), Minister of Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam (Right)

Last week, TOC reported how a 45-year old Singaporean male was extradited to Malaysia in March 2015 over an alleged murder that he committed by the Singapore Police.

Mr Mohan Rajangam, now in his 50s, was left in Malaysia for four months without any follow up from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) or the Singapore High Commission in Malaysia after being arrested by 20 police officers at his workplace and without revealing details of his whereabouts to his family.

In fact, when he was finally released from detention in Malaysia after its authorities realised that he shouldn’t be there in the first place, he had to buy his own ticket back to Singapore — twice, after he was found to have overstayed in Malaysia when he tried to fly off on the first ticket.

His ordeal of being kept in the poor conditions of the Malaysian jail could have well been prevented if the authorities — that decided to send him to Malaysia — had checked that he was not even wanted for the murder in the first place. Or to simply check that his passport which proved that he was in Singapore at the time of the alleged murder.

Under Singapore’s extradition act, the Malaysian court may issue a warrant of arrest of an individual that can be enforced in Singapore after endorsing by a Singapore judge. But similarly, a Singapore judge can also contest the warrant of arrest if he or she chooses to.

Did the Police or even the Court, have clear information of the circumstances of why Mr Mohan is to be extradited to Malaysia and whether was it justified, to begin with?

In this case, Mr Mohan’s evidence that he was in Singapore, celebrating his birthday would have been a strong reason to contest his extradition to Malaysia.

Application made to State Court for criminal proceeding records in 2015

Given that the Singapore Court has repeatedly refused Mr Mohan’s request for his charge sheet without reason, one would doubt that there was any, to begin with. The State Court, after close to a month since TOC’s query, has yet explained why it cannot release the requested information to the extradited accused.

Even if we to argue that it may not be a charge sheet that was read to Mr Mohan, but a warrant for arrest for the alleged murder, the facts still do not gel in together.

The murder charge or “warrant of arrest”, that was allegedly read to him in March 2015 at the State Court, was for the death of Malaysian security firm director E. Selvakumar who was killed on 2 March 2015 after being shot at least seven times at close range by an assailant riding pillion on a motorcycle.

On 4 March, two suspects for the murder had already been arrested and by 23 March — the day that Mr Mohan was extradited to Malaysia — The suspect of Mr Selvakumar’s murder had already confessed with the murder weapon found by the Malaysian police in the suspect’s home.

This, therefore, begs the question of what was actually read to Mr Mohan in the first place whether is it, a formal charge or a warrant of arrest by the Malaysian police.

A question needs to be raised as to why Mr Mohan was hastily extradited out of Singapore within two days of his arrest as the law clearly caters for a short period of detention in Singapore for a warrant of arrest from Malaysia.

Section 37 of the act offers an option for the arrested individual to seek a review of the extradition order but Mr Mohan did not even get the chance of speaking to a lawyer or even his family before he was passed to the Malaysian police at the Woodlands Checkpoint after being arrested for 48 hours. Under Singapore law, the police get to decide what is considered as a reasonable time before a detained suspect gets to speak with his or her lawyer.

Also according to the Jan 2018 document released from the Malaysian authority, Mr Mohan was “arrested” on 26 April 2015 for being suspected to be involved in a case under section 130V of the Malaysia Penal Code which is meant for organised crime or secret society. He was then detained in Malaysia under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) for 28 days.

It is not to say Mr Mohan had been involved in secret society activities but he was held in Malaysia under the powers of the law. Note that according to Mr Mohan, SPF’s Secret Society Branch (SSB) allegedly did not find any background of him in their records. (Of course, the SSB is welcome to contest this by writing to TOC)

If one wants to argue that Mr Mohan is extradited of secret society activities in Malaysia then the question that one will have to answer is why is he was not charged for any offense. If no offence has been committed, then why the need for extradition and why would the Malaysian police issue a warrant of arrest or extradition request for him?

And note that he was arrested by the Malaysia police for the alleged involvement in secret society activities, a month later after he was extradited to Malaysia for a murder case. He simply appeared in the Penang court for the murder case but was never involved in any hearing. So in the end, Mr Mohan was passed from one department to another for cases that he was never a suspect in.

According to Mr Mohan, the Malaysian police told him that they just wanted him to assist in their investigation as he knew one of the suspects as a former acquaintance and were puzzled themselves as to why he was arrested and sent to Malaysia.

From the above, we can see that there are simply so many questions surrounding Mr Mohan’s extradition but zero answers have been provided.

No POFMA, so Mr Mohan’s story must be 100% true

Since the takedown or correction direction under Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) is not exercised by any ministers from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a whole week, we can safely assume that all that TOC has reported so far is 100 percent accurate and not in any way misleading.

We also note that mainstream media platforms have approached the ministries for comment on the story since lawyer M Ravi, who is representing Mr Mohan, filed a criminal revision last Friday, seeking the details of the criminal charge that led to the extradition to Malaysia.

However, as the ministries have not given any comment to confirm the story, the media platforms most likely do not dare to publish the story and have not done so till today. If you google Mr Mohan’s name, only TOC has carried the story thus far.

TOC has written into the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Court for their response on Mr Mohan’s story on 17 Dec last year but all have not provided any answer to the queries asked.

When TOC covered the story of 14-year-old Benjamin Lim who died after he was interviewed by the Police without parental supervision, we were similarly stonewalled by the Police for its comments.

The Minister of Home Affairs, K Shanmugam explained in Parliament on 1 March 2016 why the Police did not respond to TOC’s queries, he said:

Why has my Ministry not commented substantially, particularly to correct these inaccuracies, until now?

Mdm Speaker, I told my Ministry, earlier on, that we should refrain from commenting too much, or in detail, on this matter. I decided that for two reasons: (1) out respect for the family, to give them some space and time to grieve; and (2) there will be a Coroner’s Inquiry (CI). That is the right forum for the relevant facts to be dealt with. I think Members will know when I keep quiet, usually there is a good reason; a good legal reason.

Coming to today and referring to Mr Mohan’s situation. First, the case was way back in 2015. Secondly, there is no ongoing investigation from Malaysia or even charge against Mr Mohan as stated by its authority. And thirdly, the person in question who is a full-grown adult, has appeared on camera, asking for his case to be answered.

So using the Law Minister’s explanation in 2016 — which I reject and disagree with —  then what is the reason for the authorities’ silence on Mr Mohan’s case now?

Are the ministries hoping that the case will just die down since mainstream media are not reporting on it and that people will forget about it? Or that faithful Singaporeans will treat Mr Mohan’s case as a one-sided story since they have yet heard the explanation from the government?

And true enough, as seen from the online comments, many Singaporeans hold the hope that Mr Mohan’s story is untrue or at best, an inaccurate recount of what transpired from his point of view.

From Mr Mohan’s case, other than the unquestionable powers that we grant our policing force, we have to ponder about the integrity and principle of this current government.

Is it a government that faces its citizens with full transparency and accountability or one that chooses to slam its fist on its opponents with POFMA whenever it sees a slight hint of vulnerability and when totally cornered by ordinary citizens, hide behind the invulnerable walls of state secret and media obedience?

How can the citizens believe that they are the masters of civil servants when the ministries behave as if they do not owe answers to their “masters”.

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