Suhakam should stand up and be counted on the avalanche of complaints about  police violations of human rights, brutalities and vandalism  at the peaceful gathering at Kesas Highway on Sunday

Media conference statement
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Sunday was a great day for democracy in Malaysia as tens of thousands of Malaysians gathered peacefully to demand restoration of their fundamental constitutional and democratic rights.

But it was also a black day for the Malaysian police with mounting evidence of police "trigger-happy" mentality, not only in unwarrantedly firing tear gas and chemically-laced water cannons, but also the rampage of police brutalities and vandalism.  It is clear that the police had resorted to undue, unnecessary and excessive use of force completely unjustified by the peaceful nature of the assemblies and the presence of women and children.

I had called on Suhakam to conduct an independent and impartial investigation as to whether police had been too trigger-happy in firing tear gas and water cannons at the peaceful assemblies at Shah Alam on Sunday, and that every case of firing tear gas and the chemically-laced water cannon should be investigated and witnesses invited to ascertain whether it is justified to protect public order or completely unwarranted as excessive over-reaction by the police.

It is most regrettable that for three days, there has been deafening silence from Suhakam. The time has come for Suhakam to stand up and be counted against the human rights violations on Sunday, especilly with the  avalanche of complaints about  excessive use of force, brutalities and vandalism by the police  at  the Sunday peaceful gatherings.

There can be no justification for the police to go on a rampage against unarmed people, including women and children, who pose no threat to public order or national security, but merely an embarrassment to the democratic credentials and legitimacy of the government leaders.

I received an email last night which read:

This is a question all Malaysian leaders and people, particularly the Suhakam, should be asking, why the police in Malaysia cannot  be people-friendly and be allies for democracy, rather than people-hostile and threat to human rights - who only  fire tear gas and water cannons when there is real threat of public disturbance rather than using tear gas and water cannons as the first step of dealing with crowds.

Suhakam should break its three-day silence and declare what action it is going to  take on the Black Police Sunday, and speak up loud and clear against  indiscriminate police firing of tear gas and water cannons, police rampage of brutalities against the peaceful and unarmed and police vandalism smashing windscreens and lights of vehicles.

It makes a total mockery of the charter of Suhakam that it should stand on the sidelines when the police goes on a trigger-happy rampage firing of tear gas and water cannons, police burtalities and vandalism against the peaceful and unarmed - and now, vengeful police action in refusing to  release the 126 detained or to give immediate access to medical attention to the wounded victims of police brutalities in police remand.

If Suhakam is unmoved and indifferent to the police human rights violations and excessive use of force on Sunday, then let it declare it loud and clear that this is completely outside the purview of its jurisdiction and concern so that Malaysians can realise that they  could not expect Suhakam  to fully discharge its statutory duty  and role to promote and protect human rights in Malaysia.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman