Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 28th May 2009:
Ah Longs beating and chaining victims like dogs in illegal prisons for months on end an indictment of failure of IGP Musa to check endemic crime instead of playing game of political masters to harass peaceful protestors
Malaysians are shocked today by more evidence that Malaysia is taking on the characteristics of a failed state, when they read reports and see photos of “Loan shark’s hellhole torture for defaulters”, with men chained like dogs, beaten and forced to survive on water and bread for months on end, the horrific treatment inflicted by loan sharks on their debtors.
The discovery of such hell-hole came to light when police rescued three men who were held in an unoccupied shoplot in Seri Kembangan, near Kuala Lumpur, for two months as they could not pay their loans which ranged from RM1,500 to RM4,000.
A police party raided the shoplot yesterday afternoon and found the three men tied to the wall with heavy chains.
The victims, aged 25, 34 and 49, were abducted from Segambut, Semenyih and Gombak.
As Gombak police chief Assistant Commissioner Abdul Rahim Abdullah described it:
"The victims were very weak. They were wearing the same clothes they had on for the past two months and had been beaten regularly with sticks.
"The loan sharks contacted the victims' families and demanded they settle the loans if they wanted to see their loved ones again."
The families could not raise the money but did not seek police help.
Rahim said the victims were imprisoned in two makeshift six-by-seven metre cells, each with an open toilet. They were chained at their necks and feet to a wall.
Firemen used an electric chainsaw to cut through the 6kg chains.
The captives sobbed uncontrollably when they saw the rescue party.
He said they were only given five slices of bread every few days and water from a small tap connected to their cells.
"If we made noise, we would be kicked and beaten."
How many such hellholes and dungeons are there in the country where Ah Longs illegally imprison their hostages in their own underground system of “prisons”, making an utter mockery of the police and justice systems?
Who would have thought that 52 years after Merdeka, Malaysia’s law and order system have degenerated to such a level where Ah Longs dare to institute their own system of illegal prisons and dungeons?
Instead of declaring a war against endemic crime so that Malaysia become a low-crime and a safe ground for citizens, tourist and investors, the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan has completely lost his proper sense of bearings, preferring to play political games together with his political games in a criminal misallocation of police personnel and resources from fighting crime and criminals.
Instead, police personnel and resources were channelled to harass and detain peaceful protestors who pose no threat to law and order, just because the powers-that-be have become increasingly afraid of dissent whether in the form of wearing black, candlelight vigils, balloons to highlight people’s support for dissolution of Perak State Assembly or even singing birthday song!
The Inspector-General should immediately recall all police personnel back to the barracks and to return them to their first duty to be on the streets to fight crime and criminals and not to appease the fears and anxieties of their political masters at dissent and protests by Malaysians committed to peaceful, democratic and non-violent means of expression.
I was in Bangkok two days ago for the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC) meeting over Aung San Suu Kyi’s continued incarceration in Myanmar, and when I asked Thais, I was told that they go about their lives in Bangkok without any fear of snatch thiefs or snatch-thief killers, and that they are blessedly spared the menace of Mat Rempits.
The Police will never be able to convince Malaysians and investors that they are professional and world-class so long as they continue to be more “efficient” in dealing with peaceful civic-minded protestors than criminals, whether robbers, rapists, Ah Longs, snatch-thiefs or snatch-thief killers, and the criminal Mat Rempit elements.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor