The murder of social activist Bill Kayong who was shot dead in broad daylight on June 21 set off a chorus of public presumption that the police investigation would be nothing more than a cover up.
Postings in the social media immediately concluded that some fall guy would eventually be caught and found guilty of the murder but the mastermind behind the shooting would get away scot free.
It is sad that the perception of the public on the police has fallen so low perhaps the conclusion of investigations on previous similar cases has led to this situation.
From the start the state’s police was under tremendous pressure to not only solve Bill’s murder but also bring those who abetted the hit man to book.
The people were watching them to see if their presumption would be proven to be true.
However, kudos to our state police for rising to the occasion with their swift probe on the murder and arresting eight of the suspects and producing them in court in Miri on Friday within a month.
Any fear that the investigation would stop with those arrests were dispelled when the state CID chief ACP Dev Kumar told the press that the police are now looking for three more suspects one of whom is the mastermind of the crime when met by reporters outside the court that day. It is also significant that the man the police believe is the mastermind behind the murder is a prominent businessman with a ‘Dato’ title.
This should go a long way in disproving that the police only go for the small fish in their investigations while letting the big guys go free.
However, it would be a folly to think that Bill’s murder case has been solved with the arrests because those charged in court are innocent until guilty.
The police and the public prosecutor still have a mountain to climb in trying to prove their guilt before the court.
In fact two of the eight suspects were released unconditionally while four were released by the magistrate’s Court but were re-arrested under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
In the meantime the police should be given time to wrap up their case against those charged and the public should now be assured that the investigation is being carried out without fear or favour.
Reaction to Bill Kayong’s murder initially had a rather disturbing racial slant but the quick action of the police in addressing the issue has diffused a potentially dangerous situation. It is imperative that that this case must not be politicised as it could fan the anger of those who see Bill as a martyr for landowners involved in dispute with a plantation company.
Before the motive behind the shooting has been established everyone especially politicians should refrain from any public comments in trying to gain mileage from the case by coming up with wild accusations and presumptions.
The police have proven that they have been impartial and professional in their investigation let them continue their good work without any interference.