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Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, 25th September 2010: 

Ismail Omar has got his priorities as new IGP all wrong with police arresting cartoonist Zunar, questioning Nurul Izzah for sedition and wanting to question Serdang MP Teoh Nie Ching for her surau visit

Tan Sri Ismail Omar has got his priorities as new Inspector-General of Police all wrong with the police arrest of cartoonist Zunar, questioning Pakatan Rakyat Lembah Pantai MP Nurrul Izzah for sedition and wanting to question Pakatan Rakyat Serdang MP Teoh Nie Ching for her surau visit.

It would appear that the new IGP has no understanding whatsoever of the concept of democratic policing and continue to regard the paramount duty of police as that of protector of the powers-that-be instead of being the protector of the rights of the citizenry.

A new IGP for Malaysia would only be meaningful if the Malaysian police is to start for the first time in 53 years of the country as an independent, sovereign parliamentary democracy to initiate a transformation and break from the colonial past mentality and embrace democratic policing to protect the people and not the regime in power.

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) 2005 report on “Police Accountability: Too Important to Neglect, Too Urgent to Delay” has rightly stressed:

“Democratic nations need democratic policing. Democratic policing is based on the idea the police are protectors of the rights of citizens and the rule of law, while ensuring the safety and security of all equally. It rejects any resemblance to the regime policing of colonial times. Colonial style policing was based on the idea of police as protectors of a government foreign to the people.”

As the report said, “Increasingly, the fundamental of policing is seen as being the protection and vindication of the human rights of all.”

Such a concept is completely alien to the Malaysian police in the past 53 years, which is also why there is a grave crisis of confidence in the efficiency, incorruptibility, professionalism of the Malaysian police force.

In the past 18 months of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s premiership, the country has been flooded with a plethoria of slogans – 1Malaysia, Government Transformtion Programme, New Economic Model, Tenth Malaysia Plan and a few days ago a RM1.3 trillion Economic Transformation Programme.

All this will come to nought unless it is accompanied by Institutional Transformation Programme with all the key national institutions like the police, the anti-corruption commission, the judiciary, the election commission and the civil service restoring public confidence in their institutional independence, efficiency, professionalism and integrity.

For the Malaysian police, which has seen a complete collapse of public confidence in its institutional independence, professionalism and integrity as confirmed by the 2005 Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission of Inquiry, the first step to police institutional transformation must be its adoption of a new police ethos and police mission by embracing democratic policing as one of its transformational challenges.

A police committed to democratic policing will not blindly act as the instruments of the regime in power to harass and oppress the Opposition and legitimate dissent in the country, and Malaysia would be would have been spared police abuses of power represented by the arrest of Zunar, police questioning of PR Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah for sedition and the latest police move to question PR Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching.

The new IGP must be mindful that the first priority of the police is to restore to Malaysians their two most fundamental human rights in any civilized society –the right to be free from the crime and to be free from the fear of crime and not to protect Umno/Barisan Nasional leaders from accountability, transparency and good governance.

The Police should not apply double standards – harassing leaders of the opposition and dissent whenever police reports are lodged, while ignoring police reports lodged against the powers-that-be.

This is why I have posed a specific question in next month’s Parliament: -

To ask the Home Minister the number/nature of police reports lodged against Utusan Malaysia since April 2009 and what actions the police have taken on these police reports.

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



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