IGP should usher in “a new era of police accountability” as proposed by Police Royal Commission by accepting the invitation to DAP forum tonight with him or his Bukit Aman representative explaining the police position on the Commission Report and its 125 recommendations
Media Statementby Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Thursday): The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar should usher in “a new era of police accountability” as proposed by Police Royal Commission by accepting the invitation to the DAP forum tonight on the Police Royal Commission Report with him or his Bukit Aman representative explaining the police position on the Commission Report and its 125 recommendations to reform the Malaysian police and transform it into a world-class, 21st century organization with zero tolerance for corruption which keeps the crime rate low and upholds human rights.
The Police Royal Commission has stressed that the strategic challenge of the Malaysian police is to shed its “strong paramilitary elements and tendencies, including an authoritarian approach” and to “become more people-centric” and “more transparent and accountable”.
The office of the IGP has acknowledged receipt of the invitation to the DAP forum on the Police Royal Commission Report at the YMCA hall in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur tonight, but it is the attendance of the IGP or his high-level representative which could signify a new chapter of a “people-centric” approach by the police in the post-Police Royal Commission era.
Malaysians have been waiting for a month for the police response to the Police Royal Commission Report and its 125 recommendations, and they are entitled to know the police reactions.
Yesterday, some 400 former police and military personnel staged a two-hour demonstration outside the Penang High Court bearing banners proclaiming “We don’t want Chin Peng” back during the preliminary proceedings of the court application by former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) secretary-general to be allowed to return and live in Malaysia.
Just as Voltaire said in his famous quote, “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”, I do not agree with the demonstrators but I will defend their right to express their protests in a peaceful and democratic manner.
But I wonder what would have been the police reaction if there had been a peaceful demonstration outside Penang High Court yesterday expressing support for Chin Peng’s application for a court declaration allowing him to return to Malaysia in accordance with the 1989 Haadyai Peace Accords which ended the CPM armed insurrection!
Is the Police prepared to accept the recommendation of the Police Royal Commission headed by a former Chief Justice and the longest-serving Inspector-General of Police in the nation’s history calling for human rights to be made “a central pillar of policing”, respecting and upholding the constitutionally-entrenched right of Malaysians to freedom of speech, assembly and association including the right to peaceful assembly and demonstrations?
The stand of the Police Royal Commission that Section 27 of the Police Act is “bad law” and unconstitutional has the support of SUHAKAM and the leading constitutional and human rights lawyers in the country.
The Police Royal Commission Report has rightly pointed out:
“The Federal Constitution and the Police Act 1967 mandate the police to impose restrictions, on specific grounds, on the exercise of the fundamental right to hold an assembly. The excessive conditions imposed by the police however exceed this mandate, and in fact render it a prohibition of this fundamental right guaranteed by the Federal Constitution rather than a restriction of this right.” (p. 129)
The Malaysian public are entitled to know at the forum tonight whether the police leadership is prepared to accept the Police Royal Commission recommendations for a fundamental “mind-set” change whereby the Police must issue a licence for a proposed assembly, meeting or procession unless it has reasonable grounds to think that there would a disturbance of the peace or is likely to be prejudicial to the security of Malaysia, with the police required to give reasons for such refusal which is open to legal challenge and judicial scrutiny and review.
* Lim Kit Siang,
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman