(Ayer Itam, Saturday): With the launching of the DAPís nation-wide "Justice For All" campaign in the Bukit Bendera parliamentary constituency - the eighth Parliamentary constituency in Penang - Penang DAP will be starting the second phase of the campaign to launch it in all the 33 State Assembly constituencies in the State.
The emphasis and thrust of the DAP"s "Justice For All" campaign is to mobilise the people of Penang to be in the forefront in the nation-wide movement for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance.
On Thursday, the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his maiden visit to the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman, which had gained international notoriety as the site where the former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was assaulted until he had a "black eye" and lost consciousness on Sept. 20 last year, directed the police to be fair to those affected by their investigations by expediting their probe so as not to delay the process of justice.
Abdullah said protracted police investigations would inevitably hinder the process of justice for those involved, including police personnel.
"All cases must be investigated fast. This is crucial in delivering justice," he said.
I commend the new Home Minister for his emphasis on justice to the members of the public affected by police investigations, but what is needed is follow-up actions to ensure that his injunctions to the police do not remain merely at the verbal level but are actually translated into actual police actions.
There is no doubt that the Malaysian police force has never been under such a bad light in the eyes of the public as at present, not only for the shocking revelations about the lack of police integrity and professionalism in the Anwar Ibrahim case, but also because of a series of police incidents including a number of police shooting deaths, for which the police has failed to give satisfactory account.
The two most glaring cases of police shoot-outs are firstly, the incident on Oct. 2 last year where the police shot dead five suspected kidnappers, including an eight-months pregnant woman N. Selvamalar, 31, at Taman Sungai Besi Indah in Kuala Lumpur after a RM3 million ransom was paid for the release of the 11-year-old son of former Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib.
The second incident was the shoot-out in Tumpat on Oct. 3 in which six men, including an MIC division youth chief, were shot dead.
Although there was a nation-wide outrage at these two police shoot-outs last October causing 11 deaths, the public are still kept in the dark about the outcome of police investigations more than four months after both incidents.
The Home Minister should direct the Police to issue a full statement on these two shoot-outs involving 11 deaths as the first step to restore public confidence in the accountability, integrity and professionalism of the police.
DAP would go one step further and call on Abdullah Badawi to take the initiative to establish a second Royal Commission of Inquiry into general police brutality including trigger-happy shootings and killings, with special reference to the Taman Sungai Besi Indah and Tumpat shoot-outs.
It is right and proper that a Royal Commission of Inquiry has been established to investigate into the "black eye" and other injuries sustained by Anwar while under police custody in Bukit Aman, though its formation was rather belated.
However, it is not only Anwar but all victims of indiscriminate, arbitrary and irresponsible police actions, like police brutality and trigger-happy police shootings and killings, who are also entitled to a full investigation in the form of a Royal Commission of Inquiry.