Mention the word ‘Wanted List’ and you’d probably think of a superlong list of wanted criminals who had probably committed serious crimes. But… how long is the list anyway??
And the answer is *drumroll* 14 people! At least, according to the Royal Malaysian Police’s (PDRM) website. Wah, how come the list is so short??
We managed to get in touch with a police officer from the Crime Department who like to be identified as just Nazril, to help us answer that question, along with some other burning questions you probably have about Malaysia’s wanted list.
1. Eh, Jho Low’s name is not in the list. Does that mean he’s not wanted by PDRM?
TLDR: He is wanted but not everyone’s name in the list will be published online.
You may have heard of Najib’s alleged accomplice, Jho Low, and how he is wanted by the govt. In fact, he once made it to Interpol’s Red Notice (Interpol’s wanted list) too. However, his name isn’t on the wanted list on PDRM’s website. Why??
According to Nazril, not everyone’s names who made to PDRM’s wanted list would be publicised on its website. Apparently, you’ve gotta commit a specific type of crime to be on PDRM’s website. If you were to take a closer look at the names and details of the people on that list, you’d find out that they’re mostly wanted under the Penal Code for various criminal offences from murder to kidnapping and even scams.
“Only specific cases will be published on the website. The public do not need to know everyone’s names on the list. For instance, high profile cases. Cases like this involves several agencies, political policies between other countries (and Malaysia) and the definition of ‘WANTED’ itself differs.” – Nazril told CILISOS, translated from BM.
So, the list published on PDRM’s website isn’t the complete list. Nazril told us that he can’t share the actual number of people in the wanted list cos… well…
He also added that there are two parties responsible of this list. An investigating officer is responsible of the actual list itself. He/she would be the ones to submit the names of people wanted by the police in the list. After that, the list would be passed on to PDRM’s Public Relations unit, which is responsible of PDRM’s website. This unit would then filter which names to be publicised online. Nazril said that this list is updated daily.
If you think the actual wanted list is longer than the ones on PDRM’s website, then you may be right. Just last year, about 2,000 people are reportedly in Penang’s wanted list for various criminal, commercial and narcotics offences. Nazril also added that normal civilians like all of us can also end up in the list if we keep committing minor offences. This leads us to the next question…
2. How likely are you to end up in PDRM’s wanted list?
TLDR: You can be on the list for drugs, murder, rape, kidnap, to assist in investigations or even… SAMANS!?
What if we tell you that samans can also cause a person to be wanted by PDRM? As it turns out, if you keep ignoring your samans and collect it the way you collect stamps for hobby (any of ugaiz still collect stamps as hobby?), then you may be wanted by the police.
“Public who didn’t pay summons for a very long time will also be blacklisted and wanted (by the police).” – Nazril.
So, the answer to the question would be prettttyyyy likely la if you commit minor offences and do nothing about it. But how would you even know if you’re wanted by the police in the first place? If you happen to commit crimes on the crime scene itself, then the police may arrest you by touching or confining your body or even when you submit to the police by raising your hands. Our friends at ASKLEGAL wrote more about these types of arrest and you can read more here.
But what if you’re not at the crime scene? Nazril said:
“For instance, traffic offence. The summons would be sent to offenders’ houses and they won’t be able to renew their road tax once they have been blacklisted. Normally, before we announce their names on police’s wanted list, several letters would be sent to their houses.”
So, when that happens, you may have to surrender to the police. But some people can be a bit sneaky.
“Normally they (those wanted by the police) are here (in Malaysia). Once (they’re) wanted by the police, they can’t leave the country unless they have their own alternative ways like running away illegally or sneaking out of the country and faking their identities.” – Nazril.
And what if you’re not in Malaysia when a warrant arrest is issued against you like Jho Low? That is probably when the govt would seek Interpol’s help to locate fugitives like this. Contrary to popular belief, Interpol can only locate people but not arrest them.
3. How long would your name be on PDRM’s wanted list?
TLDR: For as long as it can be and your name will only be cleared once you’re arrested.
“After (fugitives) getting arrested and charged in the court or have attended trial, they can contact the investigating officer to clear their names from the wanted list but their criminal record will still be with us.” – Nazril
Chup, you might be thinking, but what if I’m found innocent or the charges are dropped!? According to Nazril, the court can only determine what happens to your charges (drop or not) once you’re present in court. So, as long as you don’t present yourself to the authorities, it may not be possible for your charges to be dropped and your name will still be on PDRM’s wanted list.
We actually can’t help but to notice that some people has been on the list for the longest time. For example, one of the names listed is Mohd Nor bin Idrus, who is wanted to assist in an investigation on a Tabung Haji scam case (not the recent Tabung Haji case) that happened back in 2001. Mohd Nor who is also known as ‘Mat Panjang’ or ‘Kori’ is still in the list up til today. That would mean he’s been on the list for about… 14 to 18 years!
Sometimes the police didn’t take long before they arrest people in its wanted list. In a separate Tabung Haji case (we just happen to stumble upon this case, no shade on Tabung Haji), a woman who has been in PDRM’s wanted list for four years was arrested in 2005 for allegedly scamming people by using a fake identity card. Apparently, she had been moving around quite frequently before the police arrested her.
Normally, the police and public would be on a lookout to find fugitives. In a pretty rare case, those fugitives would come to the police by themselves! Back in August last year, a wanted criminal for shooting and robbery reportedly joined the Police Training Academy in Kuching… for 6 weeks! And within that 6 weeks, nobody actually suspected him of anything. 😮
Speaking of helping the police by being on a lookout for wanted criminals…
4. Where can we get more information on people wanted by PDRM?
TLDR: You can check the list on PDRM’s website, Facebook pages and even news reports!
According to Nazril, there isn’t any other place where you can check the wanted list besides PDRM’s website. But, what about those news reports on wanted people?
…or even on news reports like this…
But if you noticed, these announcements are mainly made by police from different states like Johor or Kelantan. That’s probably why Nazril mentioned that if you want the general information of these fugitives, it may only be accessible through PDRM’s website.
When you have some knowledge on this list, you may wanna do your part to help the police. In fact…
The public is urged to help the police find these fugitives
Just like PDRM’s wanted list, Interpol’s Red Notice and FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list that are made public aren’t really the complete list.
Earlier we mentioned that Jho Low has once ended up in Interpol’s Red Notice. However, just recently, Jho Low and his father, Tan Sri Low Hock Peng’s names are not in the list anymore. According to Inspector-General Police, Tan Sri Muhammad Fuzi Harun, Interpol would normally vet the application to enlist a person in its Red Notice. He also added that Interpol would determine which names in its list are for for public consumption and which are only relevant to the authorities.
FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list, on the other hand, are normally filtered before being publicised based on two criteria:
- If the person is a serious danger to the society
- If making the person’s information public would increase the chance of catching him/her
But, at the end of the day, the point of the list is to get the public’s help to catch fugitives who may pose risk to the society. And Malaysians may be pretty good at doing that. If you look at the comment section of PDRM’s Facebook post on wanted fugitives, you’d probably notice how some of them are actually tagging and sharing the posts.