Monday, November 28, 2005

Malaysia's Abu Ghraib - Minister Says Police Innocent

As I mentioned in my previous posting Malaysian Police Chief Exonerates Malaysian 'Lynndie England', the police abuse must be so widespread that the Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP) had to pretend that the abuse had been a standard police procedure – he termed it 'routine check' – contradicting the Deputy Prime Minister’s statement.

In doing so and to maintain his story, he hastily and recklessly exonerated the policewoman who did the Lynndie England on an unfortunate young Chinese national, ordering her to strip naked and perform ear squats. Instead the Deputy IGP provided a new target that he hopes may draw attention from the hardcore police abuses – sexual-oriented harassment, punishment or intimidation, on top of extortion, robbery and unlawful detention.

I have also mentioned in the previous posting Some Malaysian Policemen consider them as prey? that the abuse has been encouraged by some policemen’s perception that young female foreigners are easy meat, to exploit in terms of extortion or sexual gratification. Their principal targets seem to be young female Chinese nationals, most of whom are unfamiliar with the local language, English or the local legal system, and face difficulties reporting their complaints about experienced abuses in a foreign country like Malaysia. They are extremely vulnerable to the nefarious intent of our uniformed predators.

In fact, the abuse of Chinese women has gone too far that the normally reticent Chinese Ambassador has just inquired of the police about the recent rape of a 30-year old Chinese woman in a Klang hotel. Four men claiming to be police officers accosted the victim and then raped her in her room. Three were subsequently identified as air force personnel.

The woman had to seek the help of the hotel staff to report the rape, a striking example of how difficult it can be for Chinese nationals to report any abuse. The fact that air force personnel has been involved too in taking criminal advantage of a young overseas Chinese female does make one wonder. Indeed, one couldn’t be faulted for somehow feeling that word must have gotten around on the scumbag grapevine that overseas Chinese females would be vulnerable to their lustful intentions.

I am going to say what some Malaysian bloggers dare only entertain in their private conversations but not on their postings. I appreciate it’s a sensitive subject but unless it’s brought out in the open, it can’t be remedied.

In a pluralistic society like Malaysia, where we have had our uneasy history of inter-ethnic tension, one cannot feel that the police abuses have an ugly overtone of racist malice. A Malaysiakini reader pointed out today that once the police targets were Indians, now they are Chinese.

I am highlighting this not to instigate or stir ethnic emotions, because we have lived through worse situations that the current perception. But the powers that are, namely the Prime Minister and his Deputy, must take swift and necessary actions, indeed make some difficult but obligatory decisions, to restore confidence among Malaysians that the culprits would be punished, regardless of their ethnic affiliation.

As for the worst case of irresponsible statement by a senior public servant, which destroys whatever little confidence that the public may still have of the dreadful organisation called the Royal Malaysian Police, the Prime Minister must sack without any further delay the Deputy IGP for his nonsense about ear squats in the nude being SOP, and also the IGP for his conspicuous silence. If one has to kill a chicken to frighten the monkey, sacking these two would be the most deserving actions.

BUT UNFORTUNATELY, as I have suspected and anticipated, once the magnitude of the police abuses are known, the responsible minister will dig in. Just as I was about to post the above, I read the Malaysiakini news that Deputy Internal Security Minister Noh Omar stated an internal investigation into the ‘naked ear squats’ incident has found that police personnel did not breach the law. Note the key word “internal” – that’s how the Americans say Guantanamo Bay prison has not been the hell hole others claimed it to be, and did we Malaysians believe them?

When Nor Omar was challenged on the point that human rights lawyers have described such strip searches as illegal, he arrogantly replied that those who are not satisfied are welcome to sue the police or the government. Only in Malaysia would a minister resort to that childish petulant "I dare you" response, instead of answering in a responsible manner as an elected representative of the public.

However, the PM mentioned he wants an independent inquiry to look into the matter. Let’s hope it won’t be a Lord Hutton type of inquiry, but quite frankly deep in my heart, I don’t hold out much hope.


  1. I'm with you on that matter. For the Prime Minister to do something about it will take ages. How can we ever trust our lives with such people? Police officers, air force personnels. How do we know when in times of emergency an honest and truthful police officer will be there to help us? That is the thing that scares me the most. Chinese women from China becomes easy victims. The police officers would never dare do such things to an American or Australian lady because Americans and Australians knows their rights very well. They were told since young that they can sue their parents for the act of abuse if the parents should ever resort to cannings. In Malaysia, we fear the police officers because they have the power to do anything to us and whatever we say is of no use unless we are of someone important or wealth.
    It is horrible to be living here with all these happenings.

  2. Guys,

    This does sound cruel, however< I sympathise with the Malaysian authorities. As a Australian, prostitution is a problem in this country and the main perpetrators are the Chinese. In fact every second Chinese woman seems to be working in a massage parlour here, so it's kind of understandable that the Malaysian authorities mistake the woman for a pro. In fact I read somewhere in a survey, world wide the largest single group of prostitutes in the world were Chinese. And having travelled widely from Africa, SE Asia and Middle East and Europe the Chinese prostitution trade seems to be rampant. So it's understandable that Malaysia wants to protect it's borders from these people.

  3. By sexually abusing them, extorting from them, taking their money away without so much as by their leave? Is that what Oz police do to prostitutes?

  4. As a Malaysian working overseas, I realise we do have quite a bad image of our treatment of foreign workers.In fact in India the press openly says that Malaysia is the worst place for an Indian to work. I remember reading in the press earlier this year when i was there how 2 employees of HCL, a huge Indian Co with revenues in billions of US dollars, were unjustly detained by our stupid cops who mistook them for illegal blue collar workers when actually those detained were far more highly educated than the cops arresting them.

    Just goes to show the bias and prejudices that pervade our "truly asia" land.

    I am willing to bet my last dollar that what was uncovered is only the tip of the iceberg. I am sure if anonymity were given to all, the no of complainants will run into thousands.

    so much said but am sure it will all die down and somebody will be slapped on the wrist for public consumption and live will go on....


    George Herbert Walker famously
    Disliked broccoli rabe,
    And he meandered aimlessly
    Until he met his babe;
    The lies he told, most shamelessly
    Would shock old Honest Abe,
    Yet their results, not blamelessly,
    Extend to Abu Ghraib.

    That prison's owner was Sadaam,
    Our buddy in Iraq
    Whom we supplied with gas and bomb
    Until we changed our tack.
    (By gas I mean, as for pogrom,
    Nor we did not look back,
    Nor he considered it haram,
    When Shias he did attack.)

    Invading so to occupy
    His country, the US
    Took over functions, low and high,
    One might say, more or less:
    No different the hotel Hanoi
    Which France had used to press
    Vietnamese, did they employ
    To make GI's confess.

    Such is the prison culture, these
    Are built so to achieve
    Certain results, not just to seize
    Captives, you can believe:
    Beyond the torture prison sees
    Such deaths wardens nor grieve--
    Keys bring responsibilities
    Hard conscience to reprieve.

    Catch-22 transfers the guilt
    To whom would be the master;
    When prisons have been sturdy built
    Required is no forecaster
    To point the end the means fulfilt,
    For function is outlaster
    Though owners change, though it be gilt
    As gold-leaf covers plaster.

    The place is seldom plenty fun
    For such as are consigned
    Captive to prison--gently run
    Not likely: hate is blind.
    Cruel guard, did he relent, he won
    No favor for the grind,
    While, where none honest went, he won
    Promotion, praise assigned:
    Should leasehold claim S-21
    Could 22 be far behind?

    Beneath Pol Pot e'en Camelot
    Would turn into fiasco;
    While any sot who likes it hot
    May ask for some tobasco;
    So with no plans or with, a man's
    Inclined to sink like water
    To lowest depths: Americans
    Purchased cruelty and slaughter.