Cabinet on Wednesday should direct the police not to take the law into its  own hands in the Ops Warta II operation  to track down outstanding traffic summonses

Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Saturday)The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim’s statement about various police irregularities and illegalities  in the Ops Warta II operation to track down outstanding traffic summonses is welcome although long overdue. 

The Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday should issue a clear directive to the police not to take the law into its own hand in the Ops Warta II operation,  to be fully mindful of the rule of law and not to turn the country upsidedown  into a police state, with police manning road blocks at strategic places creating or aggravating traffic congestions, mount house-to-house searches, stage ambushes at public car-parks to be followed by arrest-and-handcuff-on-sight operations – which violate the law, create panic,  undermine public confidence in the institutions of government and  give the country a bad international image. 

Yesterday, Rais  said  that motorists need not have to check with the police whether they have committed any traffic offence as it is the responsibility of the police to serve offenders with summonses. He also said that the Road Transport Ordinance (RTO) had to be amended first before police could say that traffic offenders were “deemed” to have received notification that they have received summonses. 

Rais’ statement is probably the government response to the call by  the DAP Deputy Chairman, Karpal Singh two days ago on the Attorney-General Datuk Abdul Gani Patail to clarify the legality of the police actions, stressing that the traffic summonses have to be served personally or by the legally-provided substitute service, warning that the government could have multi-million ringgit suits on its hands for unlawful harassment of motorists for the 3.3 million outstanding traffic summonses.

The Cabinet should give a categorical assurance on Wednesday that the police would not be allowed to turn the country upsidedown into a police state with road-blocks, house-to-house searches, ambushes at public carparks  and  arrest-and-handcuff-on-sight operations.

The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai should  have a dialogue with political parties, consumer groups, trade unions, the Bar Council and other interested NGOs to devise a  satisfactory formula to effect the settlement of the  outstanding three million traffic summons without trampling on the rule of law or turning the country upside-down into a police state with the police taking the law into its own hands.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman