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Challenge to Senate to give approval for Teresa and me to appear next week before the Senate to give point-by-point reply to the irresponsible and baseless charges by several Senators over the police squatgate scandal
by Lim Kit Siang
All these Senators seem to think that so long as the victim is not a Chinese national, it is all right for a Malay woman or any local Malaysian to be subjected to the humiliation and indignity of being stripped naked and forced to do 10 ear-squats, regardless of her suspected offence, once in police custody.
Lance Corporal Wan Zawati alias Zalina Wan Ismail, the policewoman in the videoclip, told the Dzaiddin Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday that she forced all female detainees at the Petaling Jaya police lockup to do squats in the nude, as disciplinary action could be taken against her if any contraband items were later found in the lock-up occupied by the detainees.
Why is there no outrage, shock or even objection from anyone of these Senators at such blatant and unacceptable abuse of the human rights of woman detainees, regardless of race, nationality or gender?
Assurances by senior police officers, whether Petaling Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Mohd Hazam Abdul Halim or the Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Musa Hassan that “naked ear-squats” are confined to people caught for serious crimes and drug-related offences do not wash when the police personnel at the lock-up level apply it summarily to all detainees.
Are these Senators aware such police “naked ear-squat” humiliation for all woman detainees had been condemned by Suhakam and the Royal Police Commission of Inquiry? Suhakam in its 2001 Report on its Inquiry into the Kesas
Highway gathering on November 5, 2000 condemned the “naked ear-squats” forced on reformasi supporter, Norazimah Mohd Nor and recommended the end of such procedure.
The Royal Police Commission had also found indiscriminately compelling unnecessary, punitive and humiliating “strip searches” like the “naked ear-squats” procedure an infringement of human rights.
Why none of these Senators have expressed shock or dismay that the Police has not done anything to implement the recommendations of the Royal Police Commission for proper standard guidelines on strip and intimate searches consonant with a modern human rights regimes – wasting more than six months, or more than 18 months if this matter had been the subject of the earlier Interim Report of the Royal Police Commission?
If the Senators who are now condemning Teresa have one per cent of her sense of national pride, commitment to uphold the dignity of woman and respect for human rights, the Senate would be a more exciting and useful legislative chamber and Malaysia a better country.
In bringing to the fore the PJ police naked earsquat videoclip, which had been making the MMS rounds for the previous six months, Teresa had done a great national service as regardless of the nationality of the woman victim, the establishment of the independent commission of inquiry has gone a long way to assure the Chinese Government and people – who had been upset about the maltreatment of Chinese nationals – that the government is serious about ending such human rights abuses by the police.
The national and international outrage over the PJ police videoclip is not just over an isolated case, but because it represented the tip of an iceberg of a pattern of police abuse and human rights violation of detainees in police custody.
It is most shocking that none of the Senators who are demanding action to be taken against Teresa and me are concerned or seemed to understand the larger issue at stake.
There is increasing demand that Teresa and I be referreed to the Parliamentary Committee of Privileges for punishment, as reflected in Berita Harian’s report today headlined: “Ahli Parlimen bebas rujuk Kit Siang, Teresa”, quoting the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz.
With 92% Barisan Nasional majority in Parliament, there is nothing the Opposition can do to stop another “kangaroo court” proceeding like the unjust six-month suspension of DAP MP for Bukit Glugor, Karpal Singh last year. Teresa and I are prepared to face the consequences of the tyranny of a 92-per cent Barisan Nasional majority, which have the power to turn right into wrong and declare black as white – whether to be suspended even longer than Karpal and expelled from Parliament.
If there is a proper respect and understanding of justice, it is these Senators who had been making baseless allegations against Teresa and me who should be referred to the Committee of Privileges for their breach of parliamentary privileges.
As these Senators have also challenged Teresa and me to apologise to Parliament, I challenge the Senate to give approval for Teresa and me to appear next week before the Senate to give point-by-point reply to the irresponsible and baseless charges by several Senators over the police squatgate scandal.
Will these Senators who wanted to be media “heroes” or “heroines” have the courage and the conviction to move a motion in the Senate on Monday inviting both Teresa and me to appear to face them and reply to their allegations, including whatever new ones they want to make, so that they will not be seen as mere cowards throwing stones from the security and protection of the Senate?
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman