(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Tan Sri Rahim Noor took the witness stand at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Anwar’s "black eye" this morning and admitted that he assaulted former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the Bukit Aman Federal Police Headquarters lock-up on the night of Sept. 20 last year, but claimed that he was provoked into losing his "cool" and "control".
Rahim told the Royal Commission that he had gone down from the 30th floor of the Bukit Aman Federal Headquarters to the lock-up to see Anwar as he had known the former Deputy Prime Minister, but that he had not known that Anwar was blind-folded or handcuffed.
He said when he entered Anwar’s cell, he saw Anwar standing and blindfolded, and his first instinct was to remove Anwar’s blindfold. Before he could do so, Anwar said "ni, bapa anjing", at which, he lost his cool and control and slapped Anwar on the right and left side of his face. Anwar fell on the slab.
Rahim said the whole incident took place instantaneously and he could not remember if he had delivered other blows when he was dragged and pushed out of the cell by the Director of Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Datuk Yaacob Mohd Amin. He could not remember whether the CID deputy director II SAC I Datuk Ramli Yusuff was in the cell.
He then went back to his 30th floor office to continue with his work!
Rahim has brought the greatest shame and dishonour to the entire police force. He should be arrested and charged in court, and stripped of his Tan Sri title.
Rahim’s testimony provides a frightening insight of something very rotten in the topmost echeleons of leadership in the country. If the head of one of the most important and powerful instruments of government could totally lose his "cool" and "control" so easily, Malaysians have reasons to be worried about the quality of leadership and governance in the country.
What I find most shocking is the total lack of contriteness on Rahim Noor’s part in assaulting Anwar when he was blind-folded and handcuffed from the back.
Rahim Noor showed no contriteness when he gave his testimony at the Royal Commission of Inquiry today.
He also showed no contriteness in his conduct in the last five-and-half months for assaulting Anwar or plunging the police force, the government and the nation into international infamy.
Even accepting for the moment Rahim’s version, which I do not, that he lost his cool and control after Anwar said "ni, bapa anjing", he should have recovered his senses and sanity when he went back to his 30th Floor office, and any ordinary human being in such a circumstances would have been flooded with remorse at what he had done when he lost his cool and control.
The first thing any such ordinary human being would have done when recovering his cool and control would be to ensure that medical attention is given to the victim, even without any request by the victim.
In this case, Anwar was denied medical attention for five days although he repeatedly requested for it, and from evidence, it is clear that Rahim Noor was responsible for Anwar being denied medical attention for five days.
There is also no contriteness after the assault, when he should have owned up immediately, instead of going through the charade and farce of a so-called independent police investigation.
If there is contriteness, Rahim Noor would not have lied to the people, nation and the world in declaring on Sept. 24 that Anwar was "safe and sound".
In retrospect, Rahim Noor’s resignation on January 8 was not an act of honour or exercise in accountability. His resignation would have been an honourable act if he had accepted responsibility as Inspector-General of Police for the police brutality against Anwar - provided that he is himself not the culprit!
I share Anwar Ibrahim’s no confidence in the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah to do what is right in Rahim Noor’s case, for Mohtar should have known very much earlier that Rahim Noor was the one who laid his hands on Anwar Ibrahim.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as Home Minister cannot escape responsibility for Anwar’s black-eye, especially his outrageous remark that the injuries could be self-inflicted.
Mahathir should publicly and unreservedly tender his apologies to Anwar, his family and the entire country not only for his outrageous remark about Anwar’s injuries being self-inflicted, but also for failing in his duties as Home Minister as represented by the scandal of Anwar’s black eye while under police custody in the inner sanctum of the police high command.