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Sack the police officers in Larkin and Tampoi police stations who refused to take police reports about ongoing abduction-gang rape case in JB on Monday and suspend their superior officers and the perennial problem of police refusing to accept a report would be ended instantly and permanently

Speech at the “Second Year Review of the Implementation of the Royal Police Commission’s Recommendations” organized by Amnesty International Malaysia and SUARAM         
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): There is no better way to review the implementation of the Royal Police Commission’s recommendations after two years than to start with the front-page headline of Sin Chew Daily street edition for Thursday, “Police cannot refuse to accept report” following reports that in the case of the  abduction-gang rape of a 19-year-old girl and her 22-year-old boyfriend in Johor Bahru on Monday, attempts to make report on the oncoming crime was shunted from Larkin Police Station to Tampoi Police Station and again to Johor Baru Tengah Police Station or the crime could have been averted with prompt police action. 

Why is the problem of the police refusing to accept a report still prevalent in the country when it is supposed to have been rooted out for good two years ago? 

When the Royal Police Commission started its public hearings in early 2004, police refusing to accept reports from the public was a common complaint. 

As a result, the then Inspector-General of Police Bakri Omar summoned a meeting of police chiefs from across the country in May 2004 and warned that any police officer who refused to accept a report would be dealt with severely, and this warning was to be communicated to all police officers throughout the country. 

But today, this most basic and elementary police duty to accept reports from the public is back again in the public limelight. Is police reform making progress after two years of the Royal Police Commission Report or are we back to square one? 

Sack the police officers in Larkin and Tampoi police stations who refused to take police reports about the ongoing crime resulting in the  abduction-gang rape case in JB on Monday and suspend their superior officers and the perennial problem of police refusing to accept a report would be ended instantly and permanently.  

But will this be done, or will the whole charade of public warning to police that they cannot refuse to accept reports from the public be repeated again and again only to be ignored by the police rank-and-file.

The Royal Police Commission has three objectives in its recommendations, viz, to reduce crime, to eradicate corruption and to create a world-class police service which is human rights sensitive. 

The horrendous crimes in Johor Baru, with three shocking robbery/abduction-cum-gang rape in the last month, has further highlighted the worsening crime situation in the country where Malaysians, visitors and investors are in fear of their personal safety. 

There is now a move for a 100,000-signature campaign to restore to the people of Johor Baru their fundamental right to be free from crime and the fear of crime, whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of their homes. 

In the past three years, violent crime in the country had doubled instead of being reduced. 

As for eradication of corruption, nobody believes that any dent to this problem in the police force had been made. In the past, top police officers had denied that corruption in the police was a grave problem, yet in the recent salary revision, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan inadvertently admitted to this problem when he said there was now no excuse for the problem of corruption in the police force after the pay rise. 

I have today given notice to the Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah under Standing Order 18(2) to move a motion of urgent, definite public importance in Parliament on Tuesday, June 19, on the serious allegations of corruption and abuses of power against Deputy Internal Security Minister, YB Johari Baharom (Kubang Pasu), Inspector-General of Police and other top police officers on the Internet by both named and anonymous websites, and the failure to take satisfactory action to protect government credibility, integrity and authority. 

Some 14 weeks ago Malaysians were shocked by  news reports of  RM5.5 million “Freedom for Sale” allegations accusing the Deputy Internal Security Minister of releasing  three men held under the Emergency Ordinance which appeared on anonymous websites with the heading:  “Datuk Johari – The Most Powerful But Corrupted Deputy Minister”. 

Immediately, the IGP called for an “open and fair” investigation into the allegations, declaring that the allegations cannot be dismissed as baseless, until the investigation was completed. 

However, although the Anti-Corruption Agency had completed its investigations into the RM5.5 million “Freedom for Sale” allegations “shortly after” the deputy minister was questioned by ACA officials on March 19 and the investigation papers were in the hands of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, and the Deputy Minister himself had repeatedly called for the outcome of the investigations to be made public, the country is still kept in the dark about the outcome of the ACA investigations. 

On June 3 and 9, 2007 the Malaysia-Today news portal carried two articles by Raja Petra Kamaruddin in his series “The Corridor of Power” on organized crime and the Police, alleging corruption and abuses of power implicating the IGP and top police officers, including a RM2 million corruption allegation against the IGP. 

What actions have been taken to investigate the serious allegations against IGP and top police officers in the Malaysia-Today articles? 

Is the Police now more human rights-sensitive? The refusal of the Police to accept  the Suhakam inquiry findings that excessive force had been used by the police against protestors at the KLCC demonstration on petrol and power price hikes in May last year and to take disciplinary action against the errant police personnel provides a negative answer.   

The refusal of the Police to accept  the invitation to take part in this second-year review of the Royal Police Commission’s recommendations today is another sign that the Police has still a great distance to go to become human rights-sensitive. 

The lack of political will is the cause for the lack-lustre response and poor implementation of the Royal Police Commission’s recommendations, particularly its key recommendation for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). 

How can there be political will when there is no proper political authority and responsibility for an efficient, competent, incorruptible, professional world-class police service? 

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is also Internal Security Minister, but he is an absentee Minister. The person who is in charge of the police portfolio is the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Johari Baharom who is waging a cold-war with the police – so no one is really assuming political responsibility over the police.      

The result is setbacks on all three objectives of the Royal Police Commission – to reduce crime, eradicate corruption and create a human rights-sensitive police.


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

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