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Kajang OCPD ACP  Mohd Noor Hakim should be disciplined and removed if he cannot prove that shaving detainees bald is “normal procedure”  in Kajang since he took over as police chief


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya
, Sunday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has ordered the police to investigate whether the action by the Kajang officers to shave bald the 11 mostly senior citizens playing mahjong was according to procedures.  He said if the officers’ action was against procedures, disciplinary action should be taken against them.

There should be two aspects to such an investigation:

  • Firstly, whether such “botak” treatment is according to police procedures nation-wide, both in terms of interpretation and actual practice of standard operating procedures.
  • Secondly, whether it is normal practice in Selangor state and the Kajang police district.

Kajang OCPD Asst Comm Mohd Noor Hakim should be disciplined if he cannot prove that shaving detainees bald is “normal procedure” in Kajang since he took over as police chief.  As a first step, he should be suspended and removed as Kajang OCPD.

Mohd Noor had defended the Kajang police “Botakgate” as “normal procedure”.  He should release daily, weekly or monthly statistics of the number of detainees arrested and sent to police lock-ups since he became Kajang OCPD, and the number who were shaved bald and explain why the overwhelming majority (as I suspect) had not fallen  victim to  the “botak” treatment.

In fact, similar statistics should be given by the other police districts for I have no doubt that that such statistics would prove that it is “abnormal procedure” not only in the whole country but even in other police districts in Selangor  for the police to “shave bald” detainees who have not been proved by a court of law to have committed any offence.

If Mohd Noor is right, then I should have been shaved bald twice by the police, as I had been detained twice under the Internal Security Act and put in police lock-ups before my formal detention, but this had never been the case.

Penang Chief Police Officer, Datuk Christopher Wan Soo Kee had said that police personnel in the state normally only cut or trimmed the hair of those whose locks were more than shoulder-length.  (New Sunday Times)

He said: “If their (detainees’) hair is more than shoulder-length, we will cut it. Otherwise we don’t touch anyone’s hair.”

Sri Aman district police chief ACP Hamid Bulat said that he had served in Sarawak for over 30 years and he had not come across anyone getting their head shaved while in the lock-up.

Other police officers, including the Malacca CPO Datuk Ayub Mohamed have said that to their knowledge, detainees were not shaved bald. 

 It is clear that the Kajang police “Botakgate”, where the 11 most seniors citizens were shaved bald, detained for some 19 hours and handcuffed when taken to the magistrate’s court, were “abnormal procedures”,  spiteful, vengeful and  vindictive actions meant to cause maximum humiliation in utter disregard of human dignity and rights.

Even now, the 11 victims of Kajang “Botakgate” feel humiliated and ashamed of appearing in public.

What was  the reason for the Kajang Police officers concerned to act in so unprofessional, unaccountable and irresponsible manner as to bring the entire police force into public disrepute at a time when the police should be demonstrating to all Malaysians that it has the qualities to rise up to the challenge of the Royal Police Commission to transform itself into an efficient, trustworthy, incorruptible, professional and world-class police service which respects and upholds human rights?

What makes the Kajang Police Botakgate doubly disastrous to police credibility is the response or the lack of response  of the top police leadership which seemed to condone such blatant police abuse of power and  contempt for human rights and dignity – especially the thunderous silence of the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Bakri Omar and his deputy,  Datuk Seri Musa Hassan.


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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