Suhakam should officially release the rules and procedures governing its
investigation into Kesas Highway police brutality and vandalism and state
when the public inquiry would be held
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): An unnamed
Suhakam official was quoted by The Sun today as saying that the Human Rights
Commission has initiated investigations into claims of police brutality
during the peaceful gathering at the Kesas Highway in Kiang on November
This is most welcome, and in its investigations, Suhakam should focus
on four important dimensions:
While Suhakam should be commended for having started its investigations
into the police brutality and vandalism at Kesas Highway, I am gravely
concerned that the Chairman of the Suhakam inquiry, Tan Sri Anuar Zainal
Abidin, who is assisted by commissioners Tan Sri Simon Sipaun and
Mehrun Siraj, have not announced that the inquiry would be open and public
to ensure that it is not only fair and objective but seen to be fair and
objective. Up to now, no indications have been given as to when the
public hearings of the Suhakam inquiry would be held.
police brutality and vandalism at the peaceful gathering at Kesas Highway,
in particular the indiscriminate and wanton firing of tear gas and chemically-laced
water cannon completely unwarranted by the circumstances when there was
no threat to public disorder or national security;
manhandling of police personnel;
high-handed police action against journalists as the damaging of a photographer’s
camera by pulling out the film; and
police double-standards in condoning the UMNO Youth illegal assembly at
the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur in August this year.
Human Rights Commissions in other countries, like in South Africa, conduct
open and public inquiries in accordance with rules and procedures which
are also made known to the public.
Suhakam should not delay and without ado officially release the rules
and procedures governing its investigation into police brutality and vandalism
at the peaceful gathering at Kesas Highway on November 5, stating when
the public inquiry sessions would be held.
As the police has been instructed by the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk
Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to give full co-operation with the Suhakam inquiry,
the Suhakam inquiry should have a panel of assisting officers to represent
those who have special interests in the inquiry.
Suhakam should have its own assisting officer, while the victims of
police brutality as well as the police itself should have their representatives
on the panel.
*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman