DAP welcomes Abdullah’s decision  on royal commission on police which must be fully  comprehensive and wide-ranging in terms of reference,  comprise  independent and credible commissioners, and  producing results in terms of months and not years

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaMonday): DAP welcomes the decision of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to set up a royal commission to enhance the capability of the police but wants its terms of reference to  be fully comprehensive and wide-ranging, comprise independent and credible commissioners,  and producing results in terms of months and not years.

Abdullah is on the right track when he said that the royal commission’s remit would include public perception of the police force, a police force “well-versed in human rights when discharging its duties and dealing with members of the society”, issues like police brutality, poor service, corruption and other negative traits.

However, the terms of reference of the royal commission should be fully comprehensive and wide-ranging, as apart from the areas cited by Abdullah as falling within its  scope, the royal  commission should give top priority to eradicate the double rise in crime rate and the fear of crime, which have become the bane of present-day Malaysia as a result of the serious crime waves in the country turning many urban centres, in particular Johore Bahru, Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur and Penang into crime capitals of the nation.

The foremost responsibility of the royal commission is to urgently address  four challenges  to end the double rise in crime rate and the new fear of crime in the country and  to restore the people’s fundamental right to security and to feel safe in  the streets, public spaces and the privacy of their  homes, viz:

  • Restoration of  public confidence in the professionalism, efficiency and effectiveness of the police service to reduce crime, the fear of crime and reassure the people about the safety of the streets, public spaces and homes.
  • Police recognition and acceptance of the right of the people to demand accountability, transparency and higher standards in the delivery of one of the most basic functions of all governments through the ages – the police service to provide security and protection to the citizenry.
  • Establishment of an independent Police Ombudsman who is not part of the Police force to conduct independent investigations into complaints against the police for abuses of power, including false arrests and trigger-happy police shootings and killings.
  • Establishment of a National Policing Forum to provide a formal  structure to involve the various communities and the civil society to ensure a modern, professional, competent and responsive police force to deliver quality world-class police service to reduce crime, the fear of crime and reassure the people about the safety of streets, public places and the homes.

The royal commission, which should comprise independent and credible commissioners, should be required to submit its reports in terms of months and not years.  Even if it is not possible for the royal commission to submit its full and final report in the next 12 months, it should be required under its terms of reference to submit interim reports on  various aspects over a short-term time-frame measured in terms of months, so that recommendations on different aspects  of  police reforms could be initiated without being held up by other studies and recommendations.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman