Saturday, December 23, 2006

Of Looters, Profiteers and Soldiers.

Disturbing reports of looting and profiteering from the flood hit areas of southern Malaysia from theStar Online.

Apart from the normal looting of deserted shops and demands for 'rescue fees' from rescuers on boats, there are even lorries going around collecting iron and steel to be sold very profitably for scrap.

One of the more disturbing allegations is that soldiers, who are tasked and duty bound to serve the people, were the ones asking for the highest prices to rescue people. Civilian profiteers were apparently quoting RM50-400 to rescue stranded people with their boats. Soldiers were charging RM4,000.

Housewife Sandy Lim, 42, claimed that soldiers had asked her neighbour to pay RM4,000 to rescue her two-year-old granddaughter who was trapped along with her babysitter in the attic of a single-storey house in Kampung Abdullah.

“The flood came so quickly she (the neighbour) did not have time to collect her granddaughter who was being cared for by a babysitter. Her son was trapped in his shop elsewhere.

“How is she to raise RM4,000 when all the banks are closed?” asked Lim.

However, the babysitter and the four children she was caring for were rescued by others later.

Howzat for military entrepreneurship, at the expense of honour & discipline?

The Royal Malaysian Army, the Police, the Internal Security Ministry and Ministry of Defence must investigate such allegations quickly and thoroughly. If these allegations are found to be true, these soldiers must be dishonourably discharged, prosecuted to the full extent of the law and after that, persecuted by all of society (which they had pledged to serve and defend).

But Sandy Lim's neighbour must first come forward, make the proper complaint reports and make these allegations public. All others who were in the same situation must do the same. If you don't, nobody will know if you were lying or the soldiers were indeed profiteering.

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