Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 26.5.1984 at 12 noon
Call on Prime Minister and Defence Minister to order a public inquiry into the gruesome killing of four in Cheroh to restore public confidence in view of widespread suspicion of involvement of security forces
The killing of four Chroh new village resident at an estate fish pond near Sungai Mas on Wednesday, 23rd May 1984 has shocked and agitated the people not only in the Cheroh new village, but the whole Raub district.
The Four, Chong Woon Tin, 60, a smallholder, his son, Chong Thin Mun, 29, Len Yew San, 42 and Chan Siew Fan, 33, all died of very gruesome gunshot wounds in their head. Chong Woon Thin, for instance, had half his head blown off.
The police have appealed to the public not to listen to rumors that are being circulated by what it described as ‘anti-social elements in the area’. The police, and in fact the highest government authorities, should be aware that in the whole of the Cheroh and Raub area, the people suspect that the security forces were involved in the killings.
This is what I gathered when I visited Cheroh new village last night, and I am sure that the MP for Raub, the Deputy Education Minister, Dr Tan Tiong Hong, who was n Cheroh the day before, and the Mp for the MP for Bruas, Datuk Michael Chen, who was in Cheroh at the same time as my visit, could confirm what I say.
Where there are circumstances which led the people to suspect that the security forces are involved in the gruesome killings, the police should stop fighting shadows talking about anti-social elements creating rumours, but satisfy the public that there would be a through and impartial inquiry into the killings.
The Cheroh killings is the latest in a number of incidents in Pahang which could seriously undermine military-people relations which essential if there is to be social stability and harmony.n view of the seriousness of the incident, I have this morning sent an urgent cable to the Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamed, who is also the Defence Minister, urging a thorough public inquiry and assurance that there would be no cover-up.
My cable to the Prime Minister reads:
“Gruesome killing of four Cheroh new villagers, with gunshot wounds in their heads, at an estate fish pond at Sungai Mas Wednesday had greatly agitated people of Raub. Government assurance of through public inquiry where there would be no cover-up, urgent and imperative, to restore public confidence in view of the general suspicion that the security forces are involved in the killings. Good military-people relations could only be established if people are convinced that military personnel who transgress the law would be severely punished and not protected. Military people dialogue in Raub areas vital to allay people’s fears for their safety when working in estates and smallholdings and to restore public confidence.’’
The nature of the circumstances which made people suspect the involvement of security forces are firstly, the nature of the gunshot wounds, secondly, the reaction of the authorities to the killing; and thirdly, three women from Bukit Koman new village, Raub, heard gunshots on the day in question and they also saw a group of heavily armed soldiers near the scene fo killings.
I call on the authorities to respect the feelings and reactions of the people in the Cheroh and Raub and not to dismiss them as work of ‘anti-social’ or ‘anti-national’ elements.