Groups: Cops on the wrong track

  • Nation
  • Monday, 28 Nov 2005

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians from all walks of life are dismayed that the police seem more interested to uncover the person who took the controversial video clip of a naked Chinese woman doing ear squats, rather than investigating the way the woman was treated and humiliated before a policewoman. 

The Star was inundated with calls from the public who pressed for the force to focus on the way the woman was treated and humiliated before a policewoman at the Petaling Jaya headquarters. 

In the wake of the outrage, however, Selangor police chief Datuk Yahya Udin said last night they had questioned eight police personnel suspected of being involved in the incident. 

The personnel were from the Petaling Jaya station, Bernama quoted him as saying here Sunday. 

However, he declined to reveal the ranks or the gender of the police personnel who were questioned. 

Quoting sources, the news agency said the investigation papers on the case had been sent to the Bukit Aman police headquarters. 

Former Global Transparency International vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, who is also International Institute of Public Ethics director, said the police were on the wrong track as they should not be too concerned about who shot the video. 

Abdul Aziz, who is also a member of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police, said what was more important was the incident which took place at the police station. 

“If the police start looking for the person who took the film, no one will come forward. (Then) whatever the police do will never become public. 

“The public is entitled to know about police procedures in terms of human rights. In certain circumstances, a strip search is in order but (here), we are concerned about the way the procedure was done.” 

Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) member Prof Datuk Hamdan Adnan said that asking detainees to strip and do ear squats was against the universal declaration of the right to dignity. 

He said police should look at the rank of the policewoman who purportedly ordered the detainee to do ear squats. 

“If she is just a constable, surely an officer should take responsibility for the lack of discipline in the lock-up.” 

Malaysian Bar president Yeoh Yang Poh questioned whether ordering detainees to do ear squats was a normal procedure before sending them to the lock-up area. 

“If the police say this is normal practice, it is a wrong normal practice. It must be stopped,” he said. 

A caller, company director Xavier Gomez, said Musa’s remarks were “unacceptable”, adding: “If what was done was considered normal procedure, then there is a need to revamp the system as there is something seriously wrong with it.” 

Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam president Jacob George said the association received 85 calls yesterday from locals and foreigners expressing dismay over Musa’s remarks. 

“His statement is regrettable because the Prime Minister had talked about accountability, transparency, good governance and had sent clear instructions to take immediate action over the matter. The premier did not mean that police should take action against the person who exposed irregularities in the force,” he said, adding that the association called for a meeting between the Home Ministry and non-governmental organisations to discuss the matter to ensure that the public would not lose confidence in the force. 

Lawyer Sankaran Nair said in the Inspector-General Standing Order and the lock-up rules, there was no specific mention of ear squats as being required for detainees, except under exceptional circumstances such as searching for drugs or prohibited items. 

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, who gave her statement at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters yesterday on how she got hold of the now infamous video clip, said the police should avoid going after whistleblowers. 

“They should go after the bully, not the whistleblower,” she said, adding that the police should reveal the exact procedure of checking detainees. 

Kok had found the video clip at the doorstep of her office in Jalan Sepadu, Off Jalan Klang Lama last Thursday. 

In Penang, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said it was unacceptable to blame the person who had filmed the act. 

“The person had done no wrong. In fact, he brought justice to the Chinese national.”  

Related Stories:Digest facts behind ear squat case before prejudging cops Probe cop in video as well Anti-graft button badge a travesty to the uniform 

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