Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 20th May 2010:
Will IGP try to understand the public and agree to a public inquiry into police shootings now that there is another police report lodged by port worker Sharil Azlan?
The Malaysian Insider headline “Understand cops, IGP tells public” sums up what the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan has to say on TV3 last night.
I would be the first to agree with him, and this is the reason why I had consistently advocated and supported improvement in the wages and working conditions of the Malaysian police force in my four decades in Parliament.
But can the IGP fathom that the Police must understand the public who want to have an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class police service singled-mindedly focused on three core functions: to keep crime low, to eradicate corruption and to uphold human rights - the very words used by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission in its report released in May 2005?
Musa said: “The people must understand that if there was a police road-block, they must stop and not ram into a road-block. By doing so, police will become suspicious, because they might be criminals or drug traffickers or they just want to run away from the law.”
Musa said police would act according to the law when handling such situations, including using deadly force, when trying to defend themselves (police) or others.
He said: “We will take action based on our justification. If there was justification for action and for the use of force when carrying out our duties, we will do it. But during investigations, if we come across an individual using excessive powers, we may recommend such individuals to be charged in court.”
Musa has completely avoided the question uppermost in the minds of all Malaysians, i.e. how the police could shoot-to-kill a fleeing 14 year-old Form III student Aminulrasyid Amzah some 100 metres near his Shah Alam home in the early hours of April 26 though driving his sister’s car without licence and underaged?
The standard response that the police couldn’t know whether the driver of the car was teen or thug is not acceptable because the police were not under any form of threat to life, as whether visible or not, Aminulrasyid was “fleeing” and not endangering the life of any policeman.
Furthermore, can Musa explain why, despite possessing all the full facts, he publicly asked for an inquest into the killing of Aimulrasyid and had to be overruled by the Attorney-General who decided to initiate prosecution against one police officer?
Yesterday, a police report was lodged by Port Klang operator, 25-year-old Sharil Azlan Ahmad Kamil, who was shot at a roadblock in Shah Alam in April last year.
The Port Klang Northport worker said the bullet slug, which hit his arm and penetrated his ribcage, remains lodged close to his spine. He said doctors told him there was a high risk of him being paralysed if surgery is performed to remove the slug.
Sharil, who lodged the report at the Shah Alam district police headquarters yesterday, said he was driving back home to Kapar with a friend after a drink at a restaurant in Section 7, Shah Alam at about 12.30am on April 16, 2009 when he came across a police roadblock.
Realising his road tax had expired, he said he panicked and pulled over to evade the police.
Sharil alleged that two plainclothes policemen armed with sticks approached them and on seeing this he turned off at a lane. He said he then heard at least three gunshots fired and he and his friend ducked inside the car to avoid the shots.
However, the last gunshot which went through his car door hit him.
He said the policemen approached them and ordered them to step out of the car at gunpoint. Sharil said a policeman also smashed the front passenger's window. He then dragged his friend out through the window.
"I asked them who they are and they did not answer but asked me why I was trying to run. I told them my road tax had expired. I begged him to call an ambulance as I had been shot and was in terrible pain.
“Another police officer in uniform told me to be patient and an ambulance only arrived an hour later. I was also accused of carrying drugs, " he said.
He said he was taken to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital where he was warded in the intensive care unit and the following day transferred to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL).
"A policeman turned up at the HKL and offered me RM200 for my medical bills but my mother turned it down. The next day two officers came over and recorded my statement and asked me if a parang found in my car was mine. I denied it. The officers also assured me that they will take action against the policemen involved if it is found that they were trying to 'fix' me", he said.
Sharil said his father had also lodged a police report on the same day of the incident but to date, no action has been taken against the policemen.
Sharil’s account sounds very familiar in cases of police abuses of firearms and reminds Malaysians of Aminulrasyid’s case.
Why was no action taken by the police for more than a year on the police report lodged by Sharil’s father ?
How can cases of police reports about police shootings in (i) Shah Alam and (ii) the country had been lodged and how percentage of these reports had been investigated and what is their outcome?
Can Musa provide answers to these questions?
Can Musa explain why in the four years he was IGP, public confidence in the police have reached such a low ebb that instead of being the protector of the public, Malaysians have come to fear policemen as never before in the history of the police force?
Or as one twitter-visitor on my twitter put it:
“Who will understand the civilian? When we civilian c Police we r supposed to feel safe but all this time we feel the other way!”
Will the IGP try to understand the public and agree to a public inquiry into all police shootings, fatal as well as those which did not lead to deaths, from 2005 now that there is another police report lodged by port worker Sharil Azlan?
Furthermore, as a parting contribution to the restoration of public confidence in the police and the establishment of a new chapter in police-public relations, will he spearhead a movement for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), as proposed by the Police Royal Commission headed by a former Chief Justice and a former Inspector-General of Police?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor