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Cabinet should take the policy decision tomorrow  to  establish the  Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission in Parliament in March to hear human rights  abuses of police searches as recommended in the Squatgate Commission Report

Media Statement (1)
by Lim Kit Siang  

, Wednesday): In reply to a question at the noon media conference of DAP MPs in Parliament yesterday on the Squatgate Commission Report, I said I had no confidence that the police would change it mindset to create a police culture that is more effective, responsibility-driven and human rights sensitive by accepting and implementing the Commission’s recommendations, for two reasons:

  • The Police had been silent for the past week about the Squatgate Commission’s  recommendation for the “immediate discontinuance” of police nude earsquats, which the Commission had condemned as “degrading and humiliating”,  “improper”, “haram by Syariah principles”, “violation of human rights” and “violates the very essence of human conscience”.
  • The seven-month police stone-walling of the 125 recommendations of the 2005 Royal Police Commission of Inquiry to create a clean,  accountable, transparent, efficient and professional world-class police service, particularly its most important recommendation on the establishment  an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.

The first Dzaiddin  Royal Police Commission was set up in the wake of a national crisis of confidence in the deterioration of the  police service marked by the double rise in crime and the fear of crime in the country, with the people losing their  sense and right to safety and security whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of their homes.  This crisis of confidence was brought to a head by the grueseome abduction-rape-murder of Canny Ong at the Bangsar Shopping Complex, Kuala Lumpur on June 13, 2003 – the latest in a series of brutal and violent sex crimes, involving victims such as Mahmudan Sultanah Mofizuddin and her three children and  Audrey Melissa Batinathan.

The second Dzaiddin Royal Police Commission Report, although it is not directly related to violent and brutal sex crimes, has come at a time when there is a new eruption of crisis of confidence about the ability of the police to restore to Malaysians their fundamental right to freedom from crime and the fear of crime because of a new spate of high-profile serious crimes in the past few weeks. In January alone, there were two gruesome abduction-rape-murder cases, involving  as victims the marketing executive Chee Gaik Yap, 25, when jogging in Sungai Petani on 14th January 2006 and  seven-year-old pupil  P. Kalaiselvi in Nibong Tebal a victim on 2nd January 2006.

But there does not appear to be a police awareness of the new  crisis of public confidence in its  ability to fight crime and to address the growing public fear of crime – which is aggravated by the police refusal to give single-minded commitment to implement proposals to reform the police, whether by the first or second Dzaiddin Police Commission Reports.

I was surprised, however, when hours after my media conference yesterday, I was informed by a Star reporter that the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Datuk Seri Muwa Hassan had said that the Police will no longer conduct nude ear squats in police stations or lock-ups.   

I saw this as a sign that there is still hope that the Police could change its mindset and end its resistance to far-reaching reforms as proposed by the two Commissions – and I call on the police to make an unequivocal stand on the 125 recommendations of the first Dzaiddin Commission and the eight recommendations of the second Dzaiddin Commission, in particular with regard to the establishment of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

However, it is not only the Police but also the government which must demonstrate a single-minded commitment to implement the reform proposals of the two Dzaiddin Police Commissions.

The  Cabinet   should   take a policy decision at its meeting  tomorrow  to  establish the  Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission in Parliament in March, which will also enable it  to  receive and hear complaints about human rights  abuses by the  police, including during police  searches of detainees in custody  as recommended in the Squatgate Commission Report.

The Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission Bill, which had been drafted by the first Dzaiddin Commission, should be tabled in the March meeting of Parliament for a full debate so that there is a mechanism to check on police abuses of power – which will  finally signal the commitment by the government and the police to ensure that Malaysia has an accountable, transparent, clean, efficient, professional world-class police service.

Yesterday, the Umno Overseas Clubs Alumni Organisation lodged a police report against DAP MP for Seputeh  Teresa Kok for “storing, distributing and disseminating at the Parliament lobby on Nov 25 last year pornographic material of a nude woman doing squats”.  The Umno Overseas Club Alumni Organiation should be thoroughly ashamed of itself for such  immaturity.  It should be commending Teresa Kok for performing a great public service to trigger off far-reaching police reforms to create a professional and human rights-sensitive world-class police service all Malaysians can be proud instead of pandering to misguided prejudices in trying to persecute Teresa. 


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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