Abdullah should make a ministerial statement in Parliament to explain the  great discrepancy in the number of people killed by  police shootings given by  the Deputy Home Minister


Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Thursday): Yesterday, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung told Parliament that the police shot dead 579 suspected criminals in the last 20 years between 1981 and January 2001 and that 19 policemen were killed in the line of duty. 

Chorís answer is completely different from that given by the former Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir who told Parliament in April 1999 that in the previous 10 years, 635 people had been shot dead by the police. 

Who is right - Chorís statement that 579 were shot dead by the police in  the past 20 years or Abdul Kadir who said in April 1999 that in the previous ten years 635 people had been shot dead?  Can Chor give a satisfactory account of such a great discrepancy in the statistics of the number of people killed by police shootings? 

Chorís figures cannot be right, as in a meeting between Opposition leaders and top police officers led by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai at Bukit Aman on June 19, 1999, I had raised the issue of the professionalism of the police with particular reference to the statistics given by Abdul Kadir in connection with the 635 people shot dead by the police in the previous ten years, asking whether the police could satisfy the Malaysian public that no innocent people had been killed in all the 635 cases. 

At the meeting, I had suggested  the establishment of an Independent Police Ombudsman with powers to receive and investigate public complaints about police misconduct and abuses of power. 

Norian Maiís response was that it was up to Parliament to decide whether to establish an Independent Police Ombudsman to provide a mechanism for public oversight of police accountability but he did not dispute the figures given by Abdul Kadir with regard to 635 people shot dead by the police in the previous ten years. 

If the figures given by Abdul Kadir to Parliament in April 1999  were  right, that 635 people had been shot dead by the police in the previous ten years, then there is something terribly wrong with the figures given by Chor in Parliament yesterday, as the number of people shot dead by the police in the past 20 years could be in four figures and not just 579! 

The Deputy Prime Minister who is also the  Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Abdullah should make a ministerial statement in Parliament to explain the  great discrepancy in the number of people killed by  police shootings given by  Chor yesterday, and explain what measures had been taken to ensure that no innocent people had been killed in the police shootings. 

Abdullah should agree to the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate into all the cases of killings by police shootings in the past two decades and Parliament, before adjourning its present meeting, should be allowed to debate and decide whether an  Independent Police Ombudsman to oversee police misconduct and abuses of power should be set up to demonstrate both the government and the police commitment to professionalism and accountability to the public to zero trigger-happy shooting by the police.

(4/4/2002)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman