South Australian Parliament closely watching inquest into the death of Australian citizen Anna Jenkins

28 March 2022

The South Australian Parliament will closely monitor the proceedings of a coronial inquest starting in Malaysia today into the mysterious disappearance and presumed murder of Australian grandmother, Annapuranee “Anna” Jenkins, 67, in that country in 2017, according to SA-BEST MLC, Frank Pangallo. 

Frank successfully moved a motion in SA’s Legislative Council late last year that called on the King of Malaysia to request the Royal Malaysian Police conduct a thorough investigation into the Adelaide pensioner’s case, resulting in an inquest which begins today (Monday, 28 March). 

Prior to that, Mrs Jenkins disappearance and the subsequent discovery of remains on a development site had not been actively pursued by local Malaysian authorities, with much of the detective work to uncover her fate left to Mrs Jenkins children, Greg and Jennifer. 

Mrs Jenkins was in Malaysia to visit her now late mother at a nursing home in George Town with her husband, Frank, a former Royal Australian Air Force serviceman, who had met and married his wife while stationed at the RAAF’s airbase in Butterworth in the mid-1970s. 

It was a trip the couple made at least once a year. 

On 13 December 2017, Mrs Jenkins caught an Uber from a George Town dentist – where she had just been treated - to visit her mother at a nearby nursing home. 

Following the dental visit - and en route to the nursing home - Mrs Jenkins is alleged by the Uber driver to have asked him to immediately and randomly stop on a busy road where she allegedly exited the vehicle. 

She was never seen alive again. 

Frank took up the case on behalf of the Jenkins family last year, taking it to the highest levels of government in Canberra. 

He also hopes to have preliminary discussions with South Australian Police and the Australian Federal Police about any assistance they may be able to provide to their Malaysian counterparts. 

“It’s been a difficult four-year process for the Jenkins family to get to this a point. It is now up to the Malaysian authorities and the Coroner to get to the truth about Mrs Jenkins disappearance and her unexplained death, believed to be at the hands of unknown persons,” Frank said. 

“The family is hoping the inquest can shed some light into their wife and mother’s final movements and finally bring them some much-needed closure on who is responsible for her death,” he said. 

“The family is also seeking to have Anna’s remains returned to Adelaide as soon as possible.” 

Mr Pangallo said it was an unprecedented step by the SA parliament to request the President of the Legislative Council write directly to the King of Malaysia and other authorities about the concerns it held about Mrs Jenkins case not being fully investigated. 

“The Malaysian authorities must take note of the serious interest expressed by the Parliament of South Australia in seeking that justice is served to one of our citizens who never returned home safely to her family,” Frank said. 

“It is of particular interest to us because of the close bi-lateral relations South Australia has had for decades with Malaysia, as well as Adelaide not only being a sister city of George Town, but also being planned by Colonel William Light, whose father designed George Town,” he said. 

“Penang also has special significance  to Australians because of the long-standing Royal Australian Air Force base in Butterworth. 

“It was established in 1939 and became a RAAF installation in 1958. It is the first major air base outside of Australia since the World War II era and played a role with other Commonwealth nations involved in the Malay insurgency between 1948 and 1960.” 

Frank said there was no conflict between Australian and Malaysian (Penang) authorities over the handling of Mrs Jenkins case, but he hoped it would lead to a higher degree of collaboration between both countries  who share a common bond in the spirit of the Commonwealth. 

“Faced with a similar situation in this country, our criminal justice system would treat international citizens who were victims of crime no differently than our own,” Frank said. 

“For Anna’s devastated family, the Coronial inquiry is the start of a long arduous process to find some form of closure to the case which has lingered on for more than four years,” he said. 

“It is their fervent hope that the inquest can bring them some form of closure and that the alleged perpetrators can be brought to justice.”

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