PETALING JAYA: Several lawyers took to task Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for his alleged comments that gangsters would be "shot first" if evidence was obtained as well as claims that a group of gangsters were "friends".
They were commenting on a recording uploaded on a news portal which quoted Zahid as saying "I think the best way is that we no longer compromise with them (gangsters). There is no need to give them any more warning. If we get the evidence, we shoot first.”
In the audio clip recorded at a security briefing function in Malacca on Saturday, he also allegedly said that the Tiga Line underworld group, which is in the police blacklist of 49 secret societies, were "friends".
Human rights lawyer Edmund Bon said Zahid’s alleged statement as a Home Minister in charge of law and order is "unbecoming in a civilised country".
"It is anti-human rights. If the police start shooting all suspects, then it will collapse the rule of law and the need for a criminal justice system in the country," said Bon.
He added that the use of guns and the shooting of suspects should only be employed in self-defense and as a last available resort when there is no opportunity of apprehending them.
PKR legal affairs bureau chief Latheefa Koya dubbed Zahid’s alleged statement "completely illegal".
"With fatal shootings by the police, there seems to be an unwritten policy of 'shoot to kill'. What Zahid said confirms our worst fears," she said.
She called for an immediate investigation into his alleged statement as open support to shoot people without any charge or standard operating procedure is "murder".
"There is no such law allowing people to shoot others just because they have (so-called) evidence. Instead of shooting suspects, arrest them and charge them," she added.
However, Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin maintained that no 'shoot-to-kill' laws have been passed in Malaysia.
"We don’t apply that here. When there are gangsters, we detain them and bring them to court. We're not as cruel as some other countries," he said.