The day a crime reporter found his father shot
If there is one story no reporter would want to cover, it’s when something sad happens within one’s own family, particularly a violent death. Such a traumatic event did take place in the life of one of Balai Berita’s own — and it was a matter of national significance, even today, some 38 years later. Worse, it was never solved.The date: June 7, 1974.
The reporter: Najib Abdul Rahman, son of the inspector-general of police, Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim.
The place: the junction of Mountbatten Road (Jalan Tun Perak) and the narrow one-way lane (Lorong Raja Chulan) leading out from Weld Road (Jalan Raja Chulan), at the foot of Court Hill.
Najib had joined the NST in mid-1973 and as son of the IGP was, naturally, placed with the Crime Desk. A year later came the heartbreaking moment and anguish of being almost there when his father was shot dead.
Thirty-six years later, Najib wrote a poignant account of that day, raising questions still not fully answered.On June 7, 1974, Najib’s father had departed from his schedule. Instead of going from his official residence at Jalan Kia Peng to a police function at the Federal Hotel in Jalan Bukit Bintang, he had decided to go to the office at Bukit Aman, taking his usual route. He never arrived. At about a quarter past 8, he was shot dead in his sky blue Mercedes-Benz, in that narrow one-way street just at the Mountbatten Road junction.
The official account would later blame it on the Communist Party of Malaya.
A year later, the Perak CPO, Khoo Chong Kong, was also shot dead. Two men were subsequently convicted and hung in the 1980s for his murder. Lim Woon Chong and Ng Foo Nam were also alleged to have been responsible for the IGP’s murder — but that charge was withdrawn before Lim’s execution.
“My client [Lim] admitted to Khoo’s murder but not Abdul Rahman’s,” said Karpal Singh, the MP for Bukit Gelugor in 2010, when pressing for fresh investigations into the killing of IGP Abdul Rahman in the days after Najib’s article.
The murder of the IGP was never solved, no one ever arrested — but the police maintained that Khoo’s killers had also killed the IGP. In June 2010, Musa Hassan, then IGP, maintained that the case was closed.
An attempt had also made on the life of Deputy Supt S Kulasingam, the fearless CID crime buster, while he was investigating the murder of the IGP. Nothing resulted from the investigation either. (Kula died in 2007 after retiring from the force as an Assistant Commissioner.)
Tan Sri Abdul Rahman had been in Special Branch for 12 years through the days when “Reds” were everywhere and always in headlines in the Times. He was head of SB in Penang 1960-63, then deputy director for 8 years and director 1971-72 before reaching the top of the force. » Bio
• Or was it really because, as alleged at one time, he was about to expose someone high up?
What caused the IGP to break with his schedule that day and not go straight to the General Border Committee meeting with Thai police at the Federal Hotel?
Najib recounted in his article that his father had told the ADC (the late Datuk Syed Othman Salleh) to meet him at the office instead of accompanying him in the car as usual.
“…something urgent had cropped up, enough to cause the re-routing”, Najib wrote. His mother had said, “Let Syed pick up whatever you need at the office and pass it to you later at the hotel” — “but that morning, just that one time, he did not heed [her], and climbed into his sky blue Mercedes to go to Bukit Aman”.
Najib himself went to fetch his girlfriend and was on his way to Balai Berita, via Court Hill, reaching Lorong Raja Chulan soon after his father had been shot. His poignant, heart-breaking account » My father, the IGP, was gunned down in the New Sunday Times in 2010 provoked calls for fresh investigations.
Karpal Singh said he had repeatedly raised questions in Parliament in 2004, and did so again. But the police and the government have continued to stonewall. Why?
The original NST article – but the link is dead