MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers should establish a new principle of police accountability  in Cabinet next Wednesday by proposing that the police pay  RM500,000 ex gratia compensation to family of the latest victim of police trigger-happy shooting,  Dr. Tai Eng Teck


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Petaling Jaya, Friday):  Although a policeman has been charged in court yesterday with manslaughter in the shooting death of young doctor, Dr. Tai Eng Teck, 29 at the Bandar Tasik Selatan LRT station, Kuala Lumpur  on Monday, the police force as a whole has still to step forward to bear full responsibility for the latest case of police trigger-happy shooting leading to the killing of innocent lives.

Although the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai has publicly expressed sadness and regrets at the incident, the time has come for the entire police force to bear responsibility for the latest case of  senseless and tragic killing as a result of trigger-happy police to end once and for  all any further senseless and tragic loss of lives caused  by  trigger-happy  police personnel, who are  paid at public expense to protect lives and property and  not vice versa.

The police force, and in particular the police leadership, does not seem to be  taking  very seriously the  public outrage at the senseless killing of Dr. Tan, refusing to regard it as   the latest and uncompletely unacceptable  example of a shocking lack of police discipline and professionalism  which has gravely undermined public confidence in the police.

Instead, the police leadership seems to be treating it as a "public relations"  problem, hoping that Malaysians have short memory and that the public furore and outrage will die down after a few days - until another case of senseless killing by another trigger-happy policeman!

Malaysians do not want the police leadership to regard Dr. Taiís killing as one of those "unfortunate" or "accidental" cases, but to take  the senseless and tragic killing of Dr. Tai seriously as proof of  failure of police efforts in the past few months to present a "people-friendly" image and the need  to conduct a total shake-up of the  police force  to root out any police mentality which allowed certain police personnel to have  no qualms in taking the law into their own hands and even assuming the role of  "prosecutor, jury, judge and executioner" all in one.

This is why the police should make an ex gratia compensation of RM500,000 to Dr. Taiís family,  as proof that the police leadership and the force as a whole accept full responsibility for the senseless and tragic killing of Dr. Tai and would do its utmost to ensure that there would be no more victims of police trigger-happy shooting.

It is most regrettable that Dr. Taiís senseless killing was not brought up at last Wednesdayís Cabinet meeting, although the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik said that the Cabinet discussed the  17-point Malaysian Chinese organisationsí (Hua Tuan)  election appeals .

As Liong Sik claimed yesterday  that MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers support the 17-point Hua Tuan election appeals,  the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers should establish a new principle of police accountability  in Cabinet next Wednesday by proposing that the Police pay RM500,000 ex gratia compensation to  the family of Dr. Tai Eng Teck as latest victim of police trigger-happy shooting.

This will be in accord with the one of the 17-Point Hua Tuan Demands, namely:

"14. Restore confidence in the police force
 
In recent years, the way in which the Malaysian police have  conducted themselves has been a cause for concern and  has shaken the confidence of the public in the police  force:

· Establish commissions of enquiry to investigate all  cases of police abuse of power and torture under  police detention, release these reports for public  scrutiny and punish those police personnel found  to have abused their power;
 
· Improve the quality of the police force through  salary adjustment and more stringent recruitment  procedures to ensure a more responsible, humane  and just police force."

Dr. Taiís senseless and tragic killing by trigger-happy police will be a test of the sincerity and seriousness of the support of the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP  for the  17-point Hua Tuan election appeals. Malaysians will be entitled to ask  as what is the meaning of such support when MCA, Gerakan and SUPP Ministers are not prepared to support in Cabinet greater police accountability and responsibility as in requiring the Police to make  a RM500,000 ex gratia compensation to Dr. Taiís family.

(24/9/99)


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