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.