Samy Vellu should resign as Minister if the  Cabinet refuses to set up a commission of inquiry into police shoot-outs killing the unarmed or innocent bystanders

- launching the DAP’s nation-wide “Justice For All” Campaign  in Selangor in Puchong

by Lim Kit Siang  

(Puchong, Saturday): MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu should resign as Minister if the Cabinet on February 24 refuses to set up a commission of inquiry into two police shoot-outs last October in which eleven people were killed.

I supported  Samy Vellu when he expressed dissatisfaction with the  statement by Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri  Norian Mai on Friday defending the police action in the police shoot-outs.

There is no use of Samy Vellu continuing in the Cabinet if he cannot even get it to establish a commission of inquiry into these two police shoot-outs which, together with the scandal of the “black eye” and other injuries sustained by former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim while under police custody as well as other shocking examples of rampant trigger-happy  police, have plunged public confidence in the professionalism of the police to an all-time low.

The second commission of inquiry into police abuses of power should not be confined to the two shoot-outs last October but to all cases of trigger-happy police actions in avoidable police shoot-outs where the unarmed and the innocent were killed, such as:
1) The killing of five people, including a eight-month pregnant woman, N. Selvamalar, 31, when the police stormed a house in Taman Sungei Besi Indah at Balaikong,  on Oct. 2  last year following the release of an 11-year-old kidnap victim.  The victim was the son of former Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib.

2) The  shoot-out in Tumpat on Oct. 3 last year in which six men, including three Rela members, one of whom was an MIC division youth chief, were shot dead by the police  when they travelling in a van along the Pengkalan Chepa-Kota Bahru main road.

3) The fatal police shooting of a Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) teller,  Mohd Zailani Mohd Salleh, 33, on January 8, 1999 who was mistaken by the police as one of the four bank robbers during a gun battle in the robbery at the BSN branch in Taman Bukit Maluri, Kepong.
4) The  shoot-out at a longhouse at Bakong, Miri  in December 1997 where Enyang ak Gendang died from a gun-shot wound after  Enyang and two other Ibans were wounded when they and the longhouse folks at Bakong, Miri were involved in a land dispute with a logging company operating in the area.

Norian Mai told reporters after attending a Hari Raya celebration organised by the General Operations Force’s (GOF) Central Brigade centre in Cheras today that the police have embarked on an ambitious programme to train its officers and men on public relations.  About 11,000 policemen or 13% of the total force would undergo eight to 10 days of special training to acquire new insights into public relations.

The police seems to be barking up the wrong tree in trying to resolve the present crisis of public confidence in the credibility and professionalism of the police force.

The root problem is not because of clumsy  or outmoded P.R. techniques, but because of public perceptions that the police, instead of being the custodian of law and order, has become the most dangerous example of lawlessness in the country.

This is why the police must publicly welcome the establishment of a royal commission of inquiry into all police shoot-outs to convince Malaysians that no innocent or avoidable killings had taken place in any one of the police shoot-outs, or all the new police training in P.R. skills would come to nought.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong