Call on IGP to set
up a special Human Rights Police Unit to address a major police shortcoming
- insensitivity, disregard and violation of human rights which is why Norian
Mai has failed to fully restore public confidence in police professionalism
and impartiality four years after the infamous Anwar "black-eye" scandal
by Lim Kit Siang
On the occasion of the 196th Police Day celebrations yesterday, the
Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai outlined six "shortcomings"
of the police officers and staff which must be "dealt with immediately" to
protect the image and integrity of the Royal Malaysian Police:
in dedication to serve the public;
displaying poor social etiquette;
committing negligence in discharging their duties; and
involved in criminal activities.
Mai has omitted an important seventh major "shortcoming" of the Malaysian
police - insensitivity, disregard and violation of human rights.
In fact, less than three weeks before the 196th Police Day celebrations, the
Malaysian police was in the dock of national and international opinion for
its latest blatant disregard and violation of human rights which plunged
Malaysia-India bilateral relations to an all-time low, caused the Indian
Government to cancel Malaysian Ministerial visits to India and the Indian
pull-out from the Raja Azlan Hockey Tournament, tarnished our international
image in reinforcing world perceptions of Malaysia as a "First World
Infrastructure, Third World Mentality" nation, undermining economic recovery
efforts - the Kuala Lumpur Palm Court incident involving the police
mistreatment of Indian IT professionals.
The Yang di Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail,
yesterday stressed the importance of the quality of "accountability among
senior officers" for the police to fulfil the theme of this year's Police
Day celebrations, "Friendly, Fast and Right", motivating police officers and
men at all levels to adopt productive, credible and effective work culture.
In his Police Day message, Norian Mai called on police officers and staff to
serve with sincerity.
Neither the Police Day theme of "Friendly, Fast and Right" nor the IGP's
call to the police to "serve with sincerity" could be achieved unless the
police makes a Herculean effort to address the major blot on its record and
service - its continuing insensitivity, disregard and violation of human
rights which is why Norian Mai has failed to fully restore public confidence
in police professionalism and impartiality four years after the infamous
Anwar Ibrahim "black-eye" scandal.
In November this year, when he would celebrate his 57th birthday, Norian Mai
would have completed his two-year extension of his contract as IGP after his
retirement, which means he has eight months left to leave behind a lasting
national legacy to wipe out the infamy of the Royal Malaysian Police when
his predecessor, former IGP, Tan Sir Rahim Noor, dishonoured the entire
police force and nation and gave Malaysia an international "black-eye" with
his near-fatal criminal assault of Anwar Ibrahim while in Bukit Aman police
headquarters detention and custody and escaping later with an unbelievably
Mai should set up a special Human Rights Police Unit to address the major
police shortcoming of callous insensitivity, disregard and violation of
human rights tasked with the human rights education of all police ranks and
the development of a human rights culture in the Royal Malaysian Police.
The lack of police sensitivity and respect for human rights is highlighted
by the police handling of the national and international furore over the
police mistreatment of IT professionals in the Palm Court Incident.
Although the Malaysian Government has apologized to the Indian Government
for the Palm Court Incident and ended the Malaysia-India diplomatic row,
averting its spread to other aspects of the bilateral relationship, the
diplomatic apology to India has not been accompanied by any sign of
contriteness or preparedness on the part of the Police to admit wrong and
responsibility for the mistreatment of the Indian IT professionals - raising
the question as to what was the apology of the Malaysian Government to the
Indian Government all about?
Norian Mai reiterated yesterday that all that the police had contravened in
the Palm Court incident was the failure "to adhere to operational
procedures" - making no mention of mistreatment of IT professionals and
which the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Zainal Abidin Zin had vigorously
denied in Parliament even last Thursday.
Norian Mai told a press conference yesterday that "Some of the procedures
were not followed during the raid and police investigations revealed that
there had been negligence".
Asked whether any disciplinary action was taken against the policemen
involved, Norian Mai said investigations did not focus on individuals but on
what had taken place and the whole team members. He also said following the
incident, police might review the procedures for future arrest. (New Straits
The whole scenario is most ridiculous and irresponsible, accruing absolutely
no credit either to the police or the nation. We have here on the one hand
the unprecedented apology by Malaysia to India for the Palm Court Incident
over the police mistreatment of Indian IT professionals while on the other
hand the Police, fully backed by the Deputy Home Minister, continues
publicly to deny that there had been any police mistreatment of Indian IT
professionals and that the only infraction was the failure to adhere to
It makes nonsense of Norian Mai's declaration yesterday that "the police
would not leave any stone unturned and would not hesitate to name those
found to have either abused their power or involved in negative activities
such as corrupt practices" when in an incident which had attracted such
world-wide adverse publicity like the Palm Court episode, resulting in the
national shame of having to apologise to India, the police could leave all
the stones "unturned" and publicly strike the posture that there had been no
police wrongdoing but some bureaucratic oversight, akin to failure to comply
with ISO 9000 rules!
Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had directed Norian
Mai to personally investigate into the Palm Court Incident. Is Norian Mai's
response a mere diplomatic and PR one, where the government apologises to
India while the police condones the police mistreatment of the Indian IT
Norian Mai should be brave enough to admit the police mistreatment of Indian
IT professionals, and take the necessary follow-up disciplinary actions
against those involved to ensure that there would be no recurrence.
Otherwise, instead of wiping out the infamy to the police left by Rahim Noor,
he would himself be leaving the police service at the end of the year adding
the further infamy of the dishonest and deplorable mishandling of the Palm
To redeem the nation's reputation from the police mishandling of the Palm
Court Incident, the IGP report to Abdullah on the incident should be tabled
in Parliament without any delay.
On the idea for a police Human Rights Unit, I am sure Suhakam should have a
sheaf of proposals after three years of experience on how the police could
end its insensitivity, disrespect and violation of human rights and develop
a human rights ethos and culture in the police force.
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National