Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 29th April 2010:
The cry “This is not Manchester or Los Angeles, this is bloody Malaysia” has found resonance in the breasts of all fathers and mothers in the country and reflects the gravity of the crisis of public confidence in police professionalism
“Hisham: We’ll be fair – Home Minister promises a thorough investigation” and “No cover-up in probe, says IGP” are two headlines in the Star today on the trigger-happy “shoot-to-kill” police killing of 14-year-old student Aminulrasyid Hamzah in the early hours of Monday morning, some 100 metres from his Shah Alam Section 11 house to assure the Malaysian public of the action being taken by the authorities.
Both the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan can shout from the rooftops but the duo will not be able to inspire confidence whether the aggrieved family or the outraged Malaysian public that there would be a thorough, independent and professional investigation into the heinous incident causing the death of a 14-year-old Form III student in Shah Alam.
The ham-fisted and unwarranted “stern warning” by the Selangor Police Chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar to politicians and the public not to make statements or to speculate on the incident has the unintended effect of further undermining public confidence in police integrity and professionalism.
Khalid is clearly behind-times as he does not realize that we are in the era of democratic and accountable policing, and not living in a police state where no questions should be asked about the police!
In fact, an independent and professional investigation into the Aminulrasyid police killing should include an investigation why Khalid had come out with an official police version which has been immediately challenged by the family, the neighbourhood and an eyewitness?
For instance, Khalid alleged that Aminul, who was driving, had suddenly reversed the car and tried to ram into the police personnel while his companion “had exited and was able to escape”.
The family had challenged this version, denying that Aminul tried to reverse the car to jam the police personnel and that Aminul had died when he was shot in the back of the head causing the car to crash into a tree, retaining wall and into a drain some 100 metres from his house.
Khalid alleged that the police found a long machete in the car driven by Aminul, which had been denied by Aminul’s mother, Norsiah Mohamad, saying that the car belonged to one of Aminul’s married sisters and contained shoes and not a machete.
Will Khalid resign as Selangor Chief Police Officer and personally apologise to the aggrieved family if the official police version is proven to be untrue?
The aggrieved family and the immediate Shah Alam neighbourhood are rightly outraged at the circumstances of the police killing of 14-year-old student Aminulrasyhid as if he is a big-time gangster, causing one of the neighbours to exclaim: “This is not Manchester or Los Angeles, this is bloody Malaysia”!
This heart-felt cry “This is not Manchester or Los Angeles, this is bloody Malaysia” has found resonance and reverberation in the breasts of all fathers and mothers throughout the country and reflects the gravity of the crisis of public confidence in police professionalism.
Aminulrasyhid’s neighbours raised two pertinent questions: Didn’t the police have the common sense to realise that the student is not a criminal or he would have sought escape to the highways instead of entering a residential area, trying to flee home to his mother.
Secondly, if Aminul was trying to ram into the police by suddenly reversing and was shot, how could the car ram into a tree, retaining wall ending up in a drain?
As Aminul was shot in the back of his head and killed, he could not have posed any clear or present danger to the police personnel. Why then was he shot in the back of his head – with some neighbours reporting to have heard not less than five shots?
One of Aminulrasyid’s best friends and neighbour, Wan Iztmir Izzat Wan Abdul Rahim, has given a heart-rending account to the Malay Mail of the death of Aminulrasyid.
Itzmir declared: “He was no criminal, he was a nice boy and a great friend.”
The police has launched intensive investigations into the case. They should have established by now whether Aminulrasyid is a criminal or not and if not, they should immediately and publicly clear his name and that of his family even before the final and conclusive close of investigations.
Meanwhile, a Royal Commission of Inquiry must be established to inquire not only into Aminulrasyid’s tragic shooting case but also into all other cases of police shooting, like the case of single-mother Norizan Salleh, 29, who was shot five times after a car chase in Kuala Lumpur in February. She survived the near-fatal shots, but claimed to have been kicked and stepped on by policemen while crawling out of the car, bleeding profusely.
It has been reported that there had been an annual average of some 40 people fatally shot by the police in Malaysia when in England and Wales, there were only five deaths by police shootings per year, on average, in the last decade.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry into police shootings should cover from where the Dzaiddin Royal Commission on Police ended, i.e. from 2005 onwards into all cases of police shooting deaths, so that no Malaysian would have cause to exclaim with pain, sorrow and despair: “This is not Manchester or Los Angeles, this is bloody Malaysia!”
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor