Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 14th November 2008: 

Selangor CPO should apologise to Ronnie Liu for the unprecedentedly ill-mannered, rough and high-handed police arrest of the Selangor state exco on Wednesday

The Selangor Chief Police Officer, Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar should apologise to Ronnie Liu for the unprecedentedly ill-mannered, rough and high-handed police arrest of the Selangor state exco at the Selangor state secretariat on Wednesday, just in time to prevent him from attending the weekly state exco meeting as if he posed instant and major threat to national security and public law and order.

The Police has to date failed to give any credible reason why the arrest should be effected in so rude and crude a manner, when the police should know that Ronnie was not about to be a fugitive from justice and from his past record, would have fully co-operated with the police in his own arrest.

I am not here disputing Ronnie’s arrest – putting aside for the moment the merits and demerits of the charge pending against him – but the manner of the arrest of a State Exco, raising the question asked by Malaysians not only in Selangor but throughout the country that if the police could be so highhanded and ill-mannered when dealing with a Selangor State Exco, how could the ordinary man and woman in the street expect good manners and courtesy from the Police in their everyday interactions?

Ronnie is to be charged on Monday under Section 186 of the Penal Code for the offence of obstructing a public servant in the discharge of his functions, which is punishable on conviction to a two-year jail sentence, RM10,000 fine or both.

If the two accused in the C4 murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar (both members of the Special Action Unit, UTK) could be treated with the extraordinary and unprecedented kindness of covering their faces using the “ninja” mask throughout the murder trial which have lasted over 150 days, can the Selangor CPO explain why the police is incapable of the most minimal considerations of courtesy and good manners when arresting Ronnie?

Is this why the Police has abandoned the earlier “mesra” slogan, to the extent that the entire police motto of “Mesra, Cepat dan Betul” had been dropped?

Khalid has also failed to explain why it has taken a full year to charge and arrest Ronnie for an alleged offence over a very straightforward matter for which a police report was lodged in November last year.

Let him come clean and give the relevant dates, when the Police investigations were completed, when the investigation papers were forwarded to the Deputy Public Prosecutor’s office for action, when the DPP decided that Ronnie be arrested and charged and when the police received such instruction from the DPP!

If there is an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), all these information would have to be disclosed when a formal complaint is lodged with the commission.

Is this why the police are so dead set against an IPCMC from being set up to deal with police abuses of power, for the police would have nowhere to hide their abuses, wrongs and mistakes?

I regret the unthinking intervention of the Home Minister, Datuk Syed Hamid Albar who criticized me at the Parliament lobby yesterday following my media conference deploring the manner of Ronnie’s arrest.

He said:

“Beliau sentiasa mengkritik kerajaan apabila pemimpin DAP dan ahli parti ditahan polis termasuk menghalang tugas penguatkuasa.

“Perrnahkah dia cakap perkara baik mengenai polis. Jadi dia mesti menjadi lebih rasional. Kita dapat lihat setiap tindakannya didorong oleh politik," katanya. (Utusan Malaysia)

Just to prove Hamid wrong that I had never praised the police, let me refer him to my media statement of March 2, 2006 where I gave “the highest praise” to the then Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Musa for his speech opening a three-day course for OCPDs at the Royal Malaysian Police College in Cheras a day earlier.

I said Bakri’s speech was a “most positive sign in the past 10 months that the police leadership is not totally resistant to public aspirations for police reform to become a world-class service and that the Royal Police Commission recommendations will not be a complete waste of time and resources”.

I had never been sparing in criticism of “black sheep” in leadership positions in the public service, whether in Police or any other branches of the government but my public record on looking after the welfare of the police personnel, whether in Parliament or outside, is an open book.

I had not only supported, but constantly put pressure on the government to improve the welfare, remuneration and working conditions of the police force so that Malaysia has an efficient, dedicated, contented and professional force to make Malaysia safe and secure for its citizens, visitors and investors.

In the current meeting of Parliament, for instance, I had criticized Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan for supporting the RM20 billion proposal to rent 34 helicopters for the police for the next 30 years as the money can be better spent on the police rank-and-file to improve their welfare and remuneration.

Let me ask Hamid when he is going to assume personal responsibility as the Home Minister for the daily deterioration of public security situation in the crime, and restore to all Malaysians their fundamental right to be free from crime and the fear of crime?

This week alone, there had been a spate of major crimes like a petrol kiosk cashier hacked to death by robbers in Ipoh, the murder of a salesman found burnt inside his car showroom in Penang and another Mat Rempit mob attack on five people in a car in Jalan Loke Yew, Kuala Lumpur until they lost consciousness.

As Home Minister, Hamid should direct the police to return to the basics to end their misallocation of priorities by maintaining as their topmost priority the fight against crime and to reduce crime instead of deploying limited police personnel and resources to harass and victimize responsible and law-abiding Malaysians, including senior citizens, who want just to exercise their democratic right to express their concerns about justice, freedom and democracy in Malaysia through peaceful gatherings or candlelight vigils.

Hamid should tell the police to keep an eye but to “stay off” from these peaceful gatherings, which are always peaceful and full of goodwill and camaraderie until the spell is broke by high-handed police provocations!

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor