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Musa Hassan should declare whether the Police would accept the Suhakam inquiry findings that excessive force was used against protesters at the May 28th KLCC demo on petrol and power price hikes and that disciplinary action would be taken against the errant police personnel


Media Statement       
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Parliament, Thursday) : The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan should declare whether the Police would accept the  Suhakam inquiry findings that excessive police force was used against protesters at the KLCC demo on May 28 last year on petrol and power price hikes and whether disciplinary action would be taken against the errant police personnel. 

The findings of the Suhakam public inquiry, which was made public last Friday, will be an acid test as to whether Musa is serious and not just indulging in a publicity stunt when he announced during the 200th Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) 200th anniversary celebrations that the police is being rebranded with a new vision and mission to implement the 125 recommendations of the Royal Police Commission to create an efficient, incorruptible, accountable, trustworthy, professional world-class police service. 

The deadline for Recommendation 2 of the Royal Police Commission to �Review and refine the Vision Statement� was August 2005 � which means that the RMP has lagged nearly 20 months behind this time-line. 

Among the proposals by the Royal Police Commission for the review and refinement of the Police Vision are �to reflect the need for police personnel to respect and uphold human rights in view of the allegations of abuse of human rights�. 

Musa should tell Malaysians whether in the rebranded police Vision, the Royal Police Commission�s specific proposal that it  expressly incorporate the principle �Respecting and upholding human rights as provided for in the Federal Constitution and the laws of Malaysia�  has been accepted. 

As the proof of the pudding is in the eating, Musa should declare whether he is serious about a new rebranded Police Vision which respects and upholds human rights by accepting the Suhakam public inquiry findings that excessive force was used against a group of protesters at the KLCC last year, resulting in 10 people being injured.

In Suhakam�s 355-page report of the public inquiry into the incident on May 28 last year, which was released yesterday, the panel found that excessive force was used on an otherwise peaceful assembly. 

The report said excessive force was used on 10 persons and identified L/Kpl Mustika Lambonding as being the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) officer who hit one of the demonstrators, Lee Huat Seng, with his baton. 

However, witnesses were unable to identify the other officers because there was no identification (either names or badge number) due to the outer protective armour covering their uniforms (that had nametags). 

The findings of the Suhakam  inquiry included:

  • Excessive force by some members of the police force;
  • The crowd had started to disperse when the water cannon was activated and the police charged after them and Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel and police officers used force on the crowd;
  • The assembly was a peaceful one and the actions and speeches did not incite or cause a breach of peace or violence; and
  • The provisions of section 27 of the Police Act 1967 that requires a licence for assemblies and the phrase "prejudicial to the interest of the security of Malaysia" went against the right to freedom of assembly enshrined in Article 10 of the Constitution.

Suhakam Inquiry chairman Datuk K.C. Vohrah said the assembly at KLCC was peaceful and orderly and that the police, in dispersing the assembly, had interfered with the right to the freedom of assembly that was enshrined in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. 

Vohrah said the heart of the panel�s recommendations was the decriminalising of peaceful assembly without a licence under section 27 of the Police Act and the call for the repeal of related subsections. 

Vohrah said: �In lieu of the requirement for a licence, the panel recommends that the organiser of a proposed peaceful assembly notify the police, and the police and organiser discuss practical arrangements.� 

The report�s recommendations added that the rights of any person engaged in lawful advocacy, protest or dissent are not limited by any authority and it should also be ensured that such rights would not be considered as prejudicial to national security. 

The report also outlined a number of steps that it recommended the police implement urgently, such as wearing clear identification during crowd control, and prohibiting the chasing and arresting of people who are moving or have moved away.   

The ball is in the court of the Inspector-General of Police that the rebranded Vision and Mission is in conformity with the Royal Police Commission recommendation that respect for human rights be adopted as one of the top core priorities of the RMP � which is now being fleshed out specifically by the Sukaham inquiry findings into the excessive use of police force in the May 28 peaceful demonstration last year.


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

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