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Naked Ear-Squat Scandal – set up two independent inquires, one a precursor of Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission, and the other into immigration abuses
by Lim Kit Siang
It would appear that the Police had learnt nothing from the Police Royal Commission Report and nothing had changed – or the Naked Ear-Squat videoclip scandal would not have happened, and even more serious, when it happened, the top police leadership would not be afflicted by the terminal case of denial syndrome as to raise a nation-wide firestorm of outrage at a most clumsy “cover-up” attempt even to the extent of open defiance of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for a no-holds-barred investigation.
The whole country – the Cabinet, Parliament, Police, media and civil society – should revisit the Police Royal Commission Report and its 125 recommendations.
Let us all be reminded of the following findings of the Police Royal Commission::
“Challenge Four: Compliance with prescribed laws and human rights standards. Malaysian law generally complies with the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Federal Constitution and police procedures laid down in the Inspector-General Standing Orders (IPSO) also generally conform to human rights requirements. However, the Commission’s findings are that there is extensive and consistent abuse of human rights in the implementation of these laws and standing orders by PDRM personnel. This has added to the erosion of integrity in the police service and further undermined the trust of the public in this important institution. (p. 4)”
The question is why police abuses in failing to comply with prescribed laws and human rights standards are not only still so extensive, but could continue to find support not only by the top police leadership but even the Deputy Internal Security Minister, Datuk Noh Omar.
‘The culture of impunity: Of growing concern around the world is the ‘culture of impunity’ within police forces and PDRM is not exempted. The combination of individual and systemic acts of corruption and a lack of transparency and oversight leads to a police culture held accountable by neither internal nor external checks.
“A culture of impunity feeds on itself. When officers act in contravention of laws and regulations without fear or investigation or reprimand, the culture of impunity begins to develop. Each wrongdoing that is not investigated or punished or is supported by higher ranks within the police leadership, leads to the perception that such misconduct is permissible. (p. 122)”
The reactions of the top police leadership to the naked ear-squats videoclip scandal is testimony that such a culture of impunity is even more serious than ever, affecting not only the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Datuk Musa Hassan with his atrocious “shoot the messenger” statement that the only wrong was the perpetrator behind the video footage but also the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Omar himself.
Women, Family and Community Minister, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil was reported by the Star today as saying that she had conveyed to the IGP the request that the police ensure the safety and dignity of women under investigation and that their standard operating procedures conform to the basic principles of human rights.
What was the IGP’s response?
This is what Shahrizat reported: “The IGP stressed that he will not condone any act which is against the law or compromise the dignity of and respect for women, regardless of whether they are Malaysians or foreigners”.
This is a totally meaningless and empty statement, especially as the top police leadership is maintaining that there was nothing wrong with the conduct of the policewoman in the videoclip in ordering the woman detainee to strip and do ten ear-squats, and that the only wrongdoer was the perpetrator behind the video footage.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had extended his apology to Chinese nationals who have been mistreated by police while in detention, but the IGP’s is not prepared to offer any apology for the misconduct of his officers, demonstrating the power and tenacity of the police “culture of impunity” totally undermining the Prime Minister’s apology and attempt at damage-control caused by rogue police officials.
While the Prime Minister’s decision to commission independent investigations into the naked ear-squat videoclip scandal is welcome, stronger action is urgently needed in the circumstances – particularly in the light of the failure of the Police Royal Commission Report to make any impact to reform the police into a world-class professional police service.
I call on the Prime Minister to set up two independent inquires, the one on the police should be a precursor of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) recommended by the Police Royal Commission, and the other into immigration abuses.
The two independent inquiries should look separately into serious allegations of mistreatment not only of China nationals, but all foreign nationals as well as Malaysian citizens, as allegations of abuses and excesses of power have now also implicated the immigration department.
If the Police Royal Commission recommendation on an IPCMC had been implemented, this Commission would be the most appropriate body to investigate into the naked ear-squats videoclip scandal.
As the IPCMC has not been established - the IPCMC Bill has not been tabled in Parliament - the independent body into police abuses and excesses of power arising from the naked ear-squats videoclip scandal should be established with the following terms of reference and understanding:
reports should be made public.
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