Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Aminulrasyid Amzah's death - The police doth protest too much, methinks

The tragic death of 14-year old Aminulrasyid Amzah has been made even more deplorable by the police’s knee jerk defence of its man or men who had opened fire at the young boy with deadly consequences.

What is indisputable has been (a) the police firing at Aminul, and that (b) Aminul is dead! Even the police would not dare deny these two facts.

What is currently being argued are the circumstances leading to the shooting of Aminul and the associated cause for the police to open fire.

The police claimed the boy reversed aggressively at them, purportedly with an aim to smash into the pursuing police.

If this is not true, as has been asserted by Aminul’s passenger, 15-year-old Azamuddin Omar, then the police had no cause to use their weapons with deadly effect.

If the sinister reversing as alleged is true, would that still provide the police with justified cause to fire at Aminul?

Before we can answer the second supposition, we need to know the physical disposition of the antagonists. How close or how far were the police from being run down? Would it have been possible for them to get out of the way? Etc etc!

The police situation or story thus far is becoming untenable. Further in my post I will explain why this is so.

Meanwhile The Malaysian Insider’s article
MCA backs cops in shooting death has been in my opinion a bit provocative in its news headlines and in reporting that ‘MCA NGO liaison bureau chief Datuk Ti Lian Ker is backing the police despite rising anger over the shooting death of 14-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah.’

What Ti Lian Ker said was:

"… that yesterday’s press conference, called by lawyers representing Aminulrasyid’s family, [has been] a ‘trial by the media’ but made no mention about police accusations that the boy and his friend were robbers and criminals in an attempt to justify the shooting."

He continued: “What happened yesterday is the danger of a trial by the media that will go against the fundamentals of upholding justice without fear or favour. We had in the past witnessed cases of religious or racial overtones being decided based on public sentiment and racial or religious dictates.”

“We must acknowledge that the investigation is ongoing and the Attorney-General has not made a decision. There is a danger that the AG may be influenced by public pressure”.

“In deciding to prosecute the police officers on duty, (it may be) due to public pressure instead of basing on the facts of the investigations. This is similar to instances whereby innocent victims were penalised or made scapegoats for a crime they did not commit due to mounting public pressure.”

Ti does have a valid point. And let’s be fair, he wasn’t defending the police as the word ‘defend’ normally implies. Nor was he backing them as the word 'backing' means. He was merely advocating due process.

Of course on the same token, Ti should also be aware of two reasons giving rise to the public anger against the police - reasons of the police very own making!

The first has been the IGP’s knee jerk nonsensical threat to pull the police off the streets because of public horror at an unarmed 14 year old shot dead by police.

He is not unlike a petulant little boy who couldn’t play football up to scratch at the village field with other boys, and thus wants to sulk by taking his soccer ball home so that nobody can continue playing (because they didn't let him win).

Just imagine, this man is the Malaysian IGP! Truly pathetic!

Secondly the Selangor CPO has been outrageous in accusing Aminul’s passenger, Azamuddin Omar, of being unethical in making a public statement at a press conference yesterday, and unbelievably averring that was tantamount to tampering with evidence.

Karpal Singh rightly castigated him for his attempt to intimidate the witness. He said:

"No one is tampering with evidence, rather (we are) getting evidence for the purpose of investigation. (The witness) had every right to make the public statement as it is in public interest."

"If the IGP (Musa Hassan) can (publicly) defend (the officers who fired the shots), then there is no reason why the star witness can't make a public statement."

These have been the idiotic statements by the police top brass which have make the public suspicious that they are attempting to suppress or discourage proper and open investigation into the situation leading to an unnecessary death of a 14-year old boy.

Whether the police who fired at Aminul have been guilty or justified in doing so is no longer the question bothering the thoughts of the public. What the public is now bothered about is their belief in police attempting to cover up.

While Ti Lian Ker’s caution about the likelihood of the police officers being eventally prosecuted by public pressure rather than on evidence may be reasonable grounds for his concerns, he needn’t worry as such a scenario would be purely academic. The following would be the more likely (and truly Malaysian) outcomes:

(a) The public distrust of the Police as well as the remarkably revolting AG has been and still is legendary, and they are willing to bet the latter is unlikely to take any action on the basis of public pressure – and I am not for a single moment suggesting the AG is a man strong and resilent enough to withstand public pressure - I have my opinion about him (not a pleasant one).

(b) The public has already made up its mind precisely because of the IGP’s and now the Selangor CPO’s monumental and inexcusable blunders, by behaving in an inexplicably far too defensive manner – and the public may not be entirely wrong.

To paraphrase what Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, Act III, scene II: "The police doth protest too much, methinks."

There is no denying our senior police officers lack the requisite competencies to handle sensitive issues. Could it because they have been so used to using brute force to either shut or lock people up, they now lack the ability and sensitivities to deal with public concerns on a tragic death which involved police officers, in a manner expected of senior public servants?


  1. I agree with everything you say and I'm appalled that people are splitting hairs about this issue.

    It seems that many want to look at the big picture. I believe that in this case, we have to look at the small picture.

    A child is dead.

    That he was out at that time, driving illegally, without his parents knowledge are not the issues for this moment. Yet, we are led to believe that we should address the peripherals of this death.

  2. Agreed. Heads must roll over this. And if what Aminul's friend -the star witness- says is true (http://malaysiakini.com/news/130934), then the police had no call for opening fire at a car that supposedly was going to run over them from a distance of 400 metres.

    400 metres. And partially in a drain. The way they're going about it, you'd have thought that the officers were right behind the car itself.

    But then again, let's hope the court runs its process in a fair and just manner. Otherwise we'll have another trial with no verdicts, and yet another murder going unsolved.

    Although I'm not too sure what you meant by Israeli spies. Have there really been Israeli spies operating within the country? I must have missed that one.

  3. I think this is a classical example of an entirely casual 'ronda' and 'cari rezeki' routine. Just that this one turn out bad because of 'knee jerk' reaction of 'resistance = shoot' SOP. This type of routines can be seen everywhere and everyday. Still remember the Dr Tai, shot dead in the same way. Real sad indeed. This will continue though....

  4. In Aminulrasyid's case, the police officers involved were the prosecution, jury, judge and excutioners.
    Yet there are those who talk of trial by media and public pressure !

    What would have happened IF his friend DID NOT survive the incident?

    I am sure that there would have been a blitz by the MSM to portray both the boys as 'hardened criminals, armed and dangerous, on their way from/to their latest crime'. There would also be a list of 'crimes' attached to their bio-data which would have magically appeared from some file cabinet with the usual 'we have been monitoring their movements for sometime now'.

    Is anyone safe anymore ?

    If the cops wants to pull out from the streets, they should be terminated serta-merta without pension. This country will survive without such cops!