Who is the real hero in the surrender of the 27 Al-Ma置nah arms raiders at Bukit Jenalik - Zaini, Abdul Hadi or Abdul Razak?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The police belatedly on Tuesday conferred a "field promotion" to Chief Inspector Abdul Razak Mohd Yusof making him an Assistant Superintendant of Police (ASP) for his pivotal role leading to the surrender of 27 Al-Ma置nah members holed up in Bukiit Jenalik  in Sauk on July 6 after five-day arms heists and hostage-standoff and killings.

This was the first time that Abdul Razak痴 heroism in the Bukit Jenalik hostage stand-off was made public.

At a ceremony at the General Operations Force (GOF) base in Ulu Kinta, Perak on Tuesday to confer the field promotion for his "courage, commitment and knowledge", the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai said Abdul Razak had entered the Al-Ma置nah camp in Sauk and talked "religion" with its leader Amin Razali for over two hours, which led to the surrender of the armed gang.

Norian said that Razak, by continuously arguing "religion" with the Al-Ma置nah gang, managed to convince the group to lay down their arms.

The police chief revealed that Razak took the risk of venturing into the group痴 hideout alone on his own initiative at about 12.30 p.m. on July 6 and remained there until everything was over.

Norian said: "Even when Army Field Commander Lt-Jen Datuk Zaini Mohamed Said and GOF commander SAC II Abdul Hadi Mohmud went in with the security forces, he (Abdul Razak) was there.

"He was trying to calm both parties to ensure that no confrontation took place."

The field promotion for Abdul Razak from Chief Inspector to ASP is most deserving and well-earned and he should be given the fullest recognition for his exemplary conduct and  be honoured by the State and Federal Governments.

The nagging question is why it has taken a month before the heroic exploits of Abdul Razak are only made known, when right from the beginning on the day of the surrender of the Al-Ma置nah gang on July 6, the country was told of the exploits of Lt. Jen. Zaini who "single-handedly" brought the Al-Ma置nah arms heists and hostage-standoff to a "pure Hollywood finish".

Or as one editorial described it:

"Sixteen others remained adamant and refused to yield (to the pleas of wives and children).  The denouement was staged when Army Field Commander Lt. Jeneral Zaini Said met the leader face to face. The one-to-one confrontation was not scripted by any screen writer. But it could well have been. Redolent of the classic High Noon stand-off, unarmed Zaini stood eyeball-to-eyeball in front of the machine-gun armed leader. Persuasion this time did not bring the desired effect. The gang leader pulled the trigger, Zaini side-stepped and deflected the machine-gun and wrestled the gunman to the ground. His men took over and the rest of the gang gave up. It is rare for a general to lead his men in any military manoeuvre. That Zaini did and such courage makes him a hero, however modest he was in the aftermath. The general warrants a national salute."   (New Straits Times 8.7.2000)

While Zaini deserves commendation for his leadership qualities, Malaysians are disturbed by the conflicting accounts given by the army and the police on the final episode leading to the surrender of Al-Ma置nah leader, Mohd Amin and are confused as to who is the real hero in the  final surrender of the  Al-Ma置nah gang at Bukit Jenalik - whether  Zaini, Abdul Hadi or Abdul Razak?

This was Zaini痴 own account as reported in the NST of 8th July 2000:

Zaini said during his High Noon encounter with Amin,  about 15 Al-Ma置nah gang members were ready with their guns and  parangs at the time, all set to fight with members of the security  forces who accompanied him to the hideout.

He said:  "但min was the gang痴 chief schemer, group members won稚 come down until he orders. After I grabbed him, my other members quickly  prevented the thieves from acting, he said."

However, this army account of Zaini single-handedly entering the lion痴 den and risking his life to force the surrender of the Al-Ma置nah leader and gang is  not consistent with the police account as given by the Chief police negotiator in the Sauk hostage-standoff, Senior Asst Comm. II Abdul Hadi Mahmud in the Star of 16th July 2000.

Abdul Hadi explained  how he had for two days used pleas and cries of the wives and children of the armed men, as well as P.Ramlee痴 songs, to "work up" and "wear out" the Al-Ma置nah members holed up in Bukit Jenalik, leading to the surrender of various batches of Al-Ma置nah members.

He said when two more Al-Ma置nah members gave themselves up at about 12.30 p.m., he sensed that an end was in sight and asked his colleagues to continue negotiating.  By 3 p.m., another six surrendered.

He said  it was then that he and Lt. Gen Zaini Said decided to go to Mohd Amin痴 camp in an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) escorted by commandos in full assault gear, including bullet proof vests.

Abdul Hadi痴 account gave the following salient points:

  1. That when  Zaini and Hadi approached the hide-out for the final encounter with Amin, "the security forces comprising police SOF members and several commandos from the army  had already occupied the camp".
  2. Apart from Amin who was armed, all the other members of the  Al-Ma置nah gang  had already "laid down their arms" and not as claimed by Zaini, "ready with their guns and parangs at the time, all set to fight with members of the security forces".
  3. Both Abdul Hadi and Zaini had faced the direct risk of having Amin痴 M-16 pointed directly  at them, and not just Zaini alone.

Malaysians are entitled to know which account, army or police, on the final encounter with Amin in the Al-Ma置nah arms heists and hostage killings is the correct one, and who is the real hero in the final surrender of the  Al-Ma置nah gang at Bukit Jenalik - Zaini, Abdul Hadi or Abdul Razak?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman