(Penang, Sunday): It is four weeks since the arrest of former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Sept. 20, who alleged that on the first night of his arrest, he was beaten while in police custody until he lost consciousness - to the extent that he still had a black eye and bruises when he was produced in court ten days later on Sept. 29.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding the circumstances of the police investigations into Anwar’s allegations of police brutality, as Malaysians are still in the dark who are the members of the investigation team - and the contradictions in various government pronouncements about the probe have not been helpful in inspiring national and international confidence about the police investigations.
For instance, the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor
said yesterday that the findings of the police investigations into the
allegations by the former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim
of police beatings was conducted by an independent team which dealt directly
with the Attorney-
General and are not required to report to him.
However, 11 days ago, after the opening of a RM5 million police station in Petaling Jaya, Rahim had said the findings of the police investigation team into Anwar’s allegations that he was assaulted while in police custody would be submitted to the Attorney-General and that a report of its findings would also be sent to the Home Minister.
What happened in the past 11 days to cause the Inspector-General of Police to shift his position on the investigations to now say that he knows absolutely nothing about it and has nothing to do with it?
Last Thursday, referring specifically to the police investigations into Anwar’s allegations of police brutality while in detention, the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah said that all criminal investigation reports are to be submitted directly to the public prosecutor and no other officers, even Ministers, should have access to them.
Mohtar then made a most peculiar statement when he said that if the reports were referred to, for example, a Minister or other officials in the administration, these people did not have the right to know their contents.
I do not think the Attorney-General is helping to throw light on what has suddenly seemed to be a very complicated question. Does he mean that “a Minister or other officials of the administration …who do not have the right to know their contents” would be guilty of offences under the Official Secrets Act if such criminal investigation reports or findings were referred to them - and that this includes the Home Minister as well as the Inspector-General of Police?
Is this the position with all police investigations into allegations against police violence or brutality - and if so, is there a special unit in the Attorney-General’s Chambers directly supervising and overseeing all police investigations into allegations against the police personnel?
These contradictory statements by top government officials, as well as contradictory statements by the IGP himself, about the investigations into Anwar’s allegations of police brutality while in police custody do not inspire confidence and for the sake of the national and international image of the professionalism of the Malaysian police, the Inspector-General of Police should himself ask for an independent panel of investigations which must exclude the police, as the police is itself the subject of investigations.