(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Yesterday, the Royal Commission of Inquiry into former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s "black eye" while under police custody which submitted its report to the Yang di Pertuan Agong yesterday recommended that action be taken against "only one police officer" for causing the injuries.
It is most regrettable that the report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry had not been made public simultaneously it was presented to the Yang di Pertuan Agong in keeping with best international practices of good governance, accountability and transparency.
Former Attorney-General and the conducting officer of the Royal Commission of Inquiry, Tan Sri Abu Talib said it was up to the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the government to decide whether and when the report would be made public.
Such a decision should have been made by the government already, that the report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry would be made public simultaneously it was presented to the Yang di Pertuan Agong to send a clear and unmistakable message that the Government has nothing to hide in the infamous Anwar "black eye" scandal, which had sullied Malaysia’s international reputation to an extent no other scandal had done.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry report should be tabled in Parliament immediately and time allocated for a parliamentary debate to be held on its findings. I have written to the Deputy Prime Minister to ask for a copy of the Royal Commission of Inquiry report, comprising two volumes, the first one a 92-page report which includes the Commission’s recommendation and the second, a 404-page note of evidence.
The identity of the "one police officer" against whom the Royal Commission had recommended criminal charges is no secret, as everybody knows the person concerned is none other than the former Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor, who had publicly confessed on March 2, 1999 to being the culprit responsible for assaulting the former Deputy Prime Minister and responsible for Anwar’s "black eye".
I call on the government to table a Ministerial statement in Parliament to explain why the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah had not arrested and prosecuted Rahim Noor although the former IGP had more than a month ago publicly confessed to the crime of assaulting Anwar Ibrahim and causing his "black eye".
This is what perturbs the Malaysian people and civil society, for the Attorney-General seems to have suddenly lost his zeal and gusto to discharge his prosecutorial duties to the the custodian of law as stipulated by the Constitution.
I am surprised by the reply of Abdullah Badawi in his capacity as Home Minister to my question in Parliament yesterday about the effect of Anwar’s "black eye" on the image of the police force.
Abdullah said that the "black eye" sustained by Anwar as a result of being beaten while in police custody was something unexpected and that although the incident had tarnished the image of the Royal Malaysia Police, it had not reached the extent of causing the public to lose confidence in the police force.
He said: "I want to stress that the incident does not reflect the culture or conduct of the Royal Malaysia Police. It is the conduct of an individual and should not be viewed as that of every policeman or officer."
I cannot agree with the Home Minister. Abdullah should not try to downplay the gravity of the "black eye" incident to the image of the police as it reflected certain culture of lawlessness in the police high command which must be rooted out if public confidence in the police force is to be restored.
The Malaysian public have a right to know what actions the government and the police are taking to root out such culture of lawlessness in the police high command so that the "black eye" incident can never happen again in the very inner sanctum of the top police leadership - as this is something which no amount of public relations exercise of a friendly image by the police can address.