Media Statement 
by DAPSY Acting National Secretary, Loke Siew Fook 
on Friday, September 6, 2002 
in Petaling Jaya.

DAPSY calls on the Malaysian government to set up an Independent Commission of Inquiry to be headed by Suhakam to inquire into the allegation of sexual abuse of a Filipino girl to rectify the good image of Malaysia on the Second Malaysian Human Rights Day on September 9.

The allegation of a rape case involving a 13-year-old Filipino girl by a policeman assigned to a detention center in Kota Kinabalu is a very serious matter that needs the urgent attention of the government not just to maintain the good bilateral ties between Malaysia and Philippines but also the international good name of Malaysia.

 President Gloria Arroyo has sent a strongly worded letter to Dr Mahathir to express her outrage over the incident and demanded swift prosecution of the alleged attacker. The Malaysian ambassador to Philippine, Taufik is right when he told AFP that the “Malaysian government will certainly share the same sense of outrage if it is proven that such an abuse had taken place on this child”. 

I’m sure that all Malaysians will condemn this crime in the strongest terms if the allegation is proven true and it’s a shame for the country. 

The order by Dr. Mahathir for a through probe into the allegation and the announcement by the Sabah state police chief Datuk Ramli Yusuff that the police have formed a team headed by state police serious crimes unit chief Deputy Supt Hazani Ghazali to investigate the allegation and other allegations of offences involving policemen though is welcomed but in order to prove not just to the Philippines but also the world, our preparedness to be open, transparent and to demonstrate our seriousness about such violations, an independent investigation must be ensured. 

Since the Philippino government has sent a diplomatic protest to Malaysia and asserted that the incident “may constitute an act of aggression against civilization itself”, the most appropriate action for the Malaysian government is to set up an Independent Commission of Inquiry headed by the Human Right Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam). Although the Suhakam commissioner Prof Hamdan Adnan has said that Suhakam will conduct separate investigations into the conditions at the Sabah immigration holding centers following the allegations, the investigation should be carried out by an Independent Commission of Inquiry comprising Suhakam commissioners, representatives from NGOs like Tenaganita and an official from the Philippines Embassy in Malaysia to ensure the probe is independent and fair-minded.  

The government should give a time frame to this Commission to submit a detailed report of the allegations to the government so that the Attorney-General Chambers could take the appropriate legal actions against anyone found guilty of the allegation. 

Dr. Mahathir should take the opportunity on the Second Malaysian Human Rights Day on September 9 (next Monday) where he’s scheduled to officiate the Suhakam conference on Human Rights and Education to announce the setting up of the Independent Commission of Inquiry to demonstrate to the world that Malaysia is serious in adhering to all United Nations international convention on human rights, especially the rights of women and children and those found committing such a deplorable act in Malaysia must be prosecuted and punished.