Saturday, November 26, 2005

Malaysia's own Abu Ghraib

In June this year Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Ahmad Abdullah Badawi launched a Commission of Inquiry to investigate into alleged conducts of corruption, brutality and other illegal acts in the Royal Malaysian Police. The Malaysian public applauded the move even though many felt it was far too long overdue.

Finally, the Commission came up with a hundred over recommendations, which now one wonders if any has yet been implemented.

Then, even before 6 months have passed since the Royal Commission report was handed in, as if to poke at the nose of the Commission or Prime Minister, we have had the misfortune to witness a number of very shameful cases of police misbehaviour. A number of female Chinese nationals, wives of Malaysians, have been abused by our so-called law guardians.

In one case, the so-called law officers demanded money from them – I believe that’s called EXTORTION.

One had her money taken away by the police – I believe that’s called DAYLIGHT ROBBERY

Two were forced to strip, while one had her breast squeezed – I believe that’s called SEXUAL ASSAULT.

Yes, all these criminal acts were perpetrated by the MALAYSIAN POLICE. Those women were unlawfully detained for 4 days despite having the correct documents. When the husband of one of them rushed to the police station to secure her release, the police sergeant refused to verify her passport with the Immigration Department until he paid up money under-the-counter. What the hell does one call that?

On top of being unlawfully detained, those police victims were humiliated, stripped, sexually assaulted, extorted, and robbed at the police station. All those crimes are punishable by law. Now, lets ask ourselves how and why the Police dare perpetrate such crimes on those women, wives of Malaysian citizens?

As noted commentator Dr M Bakri Musa wrote in his Malaysiakini column, the story of the PM-ship of Ahmad Abdullah Badawi has been a ‘legacy of lost opportunity’. What good is a Commission of Inquiry if the PM fails to institute measures to right a rotten, yes, bloody rotten police force, manned disgracefully by many uniformed criminals.

And what has been the cabinet’s action on the police force thus far? Oh yes, they made those police wear badges on their uniforms with the message that they won't accept bribes. Problem of police corruption and criminality solved by a silly badge? I am not sure whether to laugh or cry.

But even worse than that, those cops who were reported for sexually abusing, stealing money from, and even peeping at those Chinese wives while they were having a bath in a police station, had gone to the houses of those women in the middle of the night to intimidate and harass them a la the Gestapo style of the midnight knock.

Those targeted were mainly Chinese female nationals.

So, to allay the fears of potential Chinese tourists that they could be victimised by Malaysian police, we hear that the Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid plans to fly off to China to assure the Chinese that there is no targeting of female Chinese nationals.

But before he has even departed the latest and probably the worst case of police abuse has come to light. A video footage has emerged, showing a police officer abusing another apprehended female Chinese national, by making her strip naked and performing ear squats in the nude. Apparently the abuse was conducted to background Quranic reading!

Hasn’t that been a frightening case of Malaysia’s very own Abu Ghraib, but with Quranic chanting in the background instead of American pop music?

And when the PM asked the police to investigate the abuse with no more cover-ups, instead, they wasted time investigating how the video clip came into the hands of the press. The Deputy IGP believes that was the crime, not the abuse of the victim stripped naked and forced to perform ear squat. And we Malaysians have the bloody nerve to condemn the Americans about Abu Ghraib. I have never been so ashamed of Malaysia.

The Royal Malaysian Police is truly rotten to the core, and stinking to high heavens yet regretfully we haven’t seen any meaningful action by the prime minister thus far. He must arrest the cancer that grows within this once-great organisation.

In any country the first to go out of decent shame would have been the Home Minister and the Inspector General of Police and his deputy, including the senior police officers in charge of those uniformed misfits.

The sad truth is nothing will happen for most Malaysian Ministers and officials have no shame. And the PM of Malaysia, as Dr M Bakri Musa said of him, wants to be the nice guy all the time, even to the criminals in the police force.

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