A Panel to Investigate Police Brutality: For Cover-Up?

May 5, 2012

A Panel to Investigate Police Brutality: For Cover-Up?

by Teoh El Sen | May 4, 2012@http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

The government has promised to set up an independent panel to investigate allegations of police brutality during last Saturday’s BERSIH rally, but opinion leaders are asking: Who will be the panellists, and is there any point in having the inquiry?

One issue that keeps cropping up is that public confidence in open inquiries is at an all time low. Among the most critical of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s announcement yesterday was Dr. Lim Teck Ghee, who said it was an an election ploy.

“On the one hand, Najib concludes that BERSIH is an attempt to overthrow the government. The next moment he says we’ll have an independent panel. It is clearly political since the election is coming, and he is not sincere at all,” said Lim, who heads the Centre for Policy Initiatives.

The Malaysian experience with royal commissions of inquiry and other so-called independent panels was that the odds were stacked in the government’s favour, he said.

“It won’t be independent and would simply be there to present the BN and Police points of view. It will be used for political spinning. We should reject this panel, unless the government changes its method of selection. The terms of reference also should be looked at carefully.”

Asked to suggest names for the panel, Lim said the suggestions should come from the main stakeholders – organisers of the BERSIH rally, Suhakam, the Bar Council, the Police and the Media.

Bar Council vice-president Christopher Leong concurred that having a panel without bite would be pointless.“We have had in the recent past disappointing experiences with public inquiries in that their recommendations are not heeded,” he said.

Plenty of evidence

Leong cited the Royal Commission on Police Misconduct and the more recent inquiry into the death of Teoh Beng Hock.

“Even the annual reports of Suhakam are not tabled and debated in Parliament. There is no point in having a commission of inquiry, or an independent panel of inquiry or a Suhakam inquiry if the findings and recommendations are ignored.It would be merely a process of buying time or wasting time and resources.”

Leong noted that the Police had said they were able to identify from videos and photos the rally participants who had misbehaved and would have them prosecuted.

He asked that the Police do the same with Policemen who misbehaved, adding that there were plenty of evidence on the Internet.

“The Police should therefore name these officers and have the A-G prosecute them. Don’t waste time, take action.”

Leong said that if the authorities wished to have an independent panel of inquiry, the following questions should be addressed: Who are going to be  the members? What would be the panel’s  terms of reference? What powers would it have and where would it derive such powers from?

“It is not productive to have a panel of inquiry that ultimately has no bite.” Leong also questioned if the panel would be solely about violence against the media, saying: “What about the allegations of police violence against the other members of the public – the clerks, secretaries, managers, doctors, engineers, lawyers, architects, bankers, business people, IT people, farmers, stall owners, students, retirees, accountants, pilots, labourers, nurses, artists, etc?”

‘We really need neutrality’

However, the Chairman of the ASLI Centre of Public Policy Studies, Ramon Navaratnam, said having such a panel was “still better than none at all” although he would have preferred a Suhakam inquiry.

He suggested the following names as choices for the proposed commission’s chairman: former Police chief Tun Mohammed Haniff Omar, UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam and former Chief Justice Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah.

“One good person would be preferably a judge who has no connection with the police. Not me. We need somebody of higher standing than that,” he said.

“This investigation must be done quickly – a one-month deadline, and you come up with conclusions and recommendations. There is ample evidence from all sides.”

Social Care Foundation chairman Robert Phang also said Suhakam would be the best body to investigate.“Suhakam is perceived to be anti-government, but in fact that’s not true,” he said.

“In any case, there’s no point putting in anybody who is mediocre. We need someone who is fair and just. One name I can think of is (Suhakam Vice-chairman) Simon Sipaun. Suhakam chief Abu Talib Othman also. We really need neutrality. But the question is: what is neutral? Neutral in the eyes of politicians or the public? We should ignore politicians because they are blindfolded. Perhaps the media should suggest some names.”

Najib said yesterday that “credible, experienced and respectable” individuals will make up the independent panel, adding that it was likely to be formed by next week.

An online portal quoted DAP’s Tony Pua today urging the government to use Suhakam to conduct an inquiry and said the government’s proposal to set up a separate independent panel was unnecessary.

35 thoughts on “A Panel to Investigate Police Brutality: For Cover-Up?

  1. A panel not to investigate but to whitewash police brutality. Nothing to investigate, its obvious caught on video by international news media. The question to be asked is “who gave the orders” then go after that person(s) instead of the policemen who just follow orders.

  2. A potential stage-managed sandiwara in the offing. I am not the least interested. An independent panel to investigate Umno’s wrong doings is more appropriate at this moment in time.

  3. ” A panel not to investigate but to whitewash police brutality ” . – orang malaya

    Chairman – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad
    Vice Chairman – Deputy Head of the Election Commission
    Panalist – Former IGP , Musa Hassan
    Mokzani Mahathir
    Hassan Ali
    Ibrahim Ali
    Secretary – Gani patail

    A team of whitewash experts.

  4. We already knew what’s like when asking the1-Billion Dollar Man to investigate the 1/4-Million lady.

  5. The Economist this time around says Najib’s REFORMIST credentials intact,and apportions some blame on Anwar for the rowdy crowd that breached the lines and overturned the police car. So 1 billion dollar man might just find the balls to rush through and call for a general election soon !!

  6. “and he is not sincere at all,” – Wello 1malaya people – lets recall back 1960s history of 1malaya – sincere ka his late father? sincere ka? the late pm after this person late father? sincere ka Tun Mahdey? Sincere ka itu Dollah selalu Tido? and this fella- sincere ka? Well, you know the story-right! It is a bull and cow history la…! What do you say?????

  7. Najib has already concluded that BERSIH is an attempt to overthrow the government. Now what finding is the panel to arrive at?

  8. What happened to the SUHAKAM investigation on PDRM done three years ago? If another one is done now, I believe, it will receive the same fate as the one before, regardless of their findings!

  9. MPM international affairs bureau chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohd Yusof Hitam criticised Opposition leaders for turning the protesters into “prostitutes” by hijacking the rally.

  10. What an insult coming from a former top diplomat of Wisma Putra who himself was booted out of the Ministry because he was unable to manage his wife interference in the running of the Ministry.

  11. Wow !! Our Sami Tean is on the roll !! Soon banana price will go up. Malaysia is fast turning into a banana Republic with Malaysians preferring imported bananas to local ones now that the Blue Oyster Club has been legalized by PAS with Gurubachan s/o Guru Nanak as chief opertaing officer. What’s new??

  12. What’s new? It’s Wesak Day, man. In the excitement of Bersih 3.0 we forget to wish tean a Happy Wesak Day. Better late than never…

  13. “Attorney-General (A-G) Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail must prosecute Bersih leaders for the maximum prison sentence for “deliberately” causing violence during the rally or resign from his position, said the Malay Consultancy Council”

    Yes, I’m looking forward to all the leaders being rounded up, detained under the country’s security laws and you have many on the menu to choose from. You can use the Sedition Law citing the attempted illegal take-over of a duly elected government as inciting disaffection against the Agong.

    Malaysians are a docile lot having gained independence on a silver platter donated by Selangor Pewter, have no experience in making Molotov cocktails, not even screwdrivers, and only just learn how to pick up burning hot cannisters fired by rioters in blue to throw back at them.

    Malaysians deserve to get their asses kicked and kicked hard. Then perhaps they will realize sooner rather than latter that in a sham democracy like Malaysia the gloves must come off. Persuading a regime that will use extra-constitutional means to save the skin of its members and their families who have become filthy rich on the back of hardworking Malaysians is like asking the robber to give up his loot with no one in hot pursuit.

  14. Over here Obama and the Democrats are being blamed by the Republicans Donald Trumpish in matters of free and uncotrolled enterprise and hawkish in foreign affairs for waging a class warfare. In Malaysia a class warfare has been waged by corrupt politicians on behalf of poor Malaysians and who then collect on behalf of poor Malaysians. What a contrast.

  15. I received this comment from Afandee Oguz via e-mail :

    “I am writing this note to share my own views of what is happening in Malaysia as seen through the eyes of a Middle East resident.

    Last week’s demonstration in Malaysia, which I must say, was tame in comparison to what happened in Egypt, Yemen and Libya and is still going on in Syria. Nevertheless I believe that Malaysia has crossed a very important barrier that will have significant impact on the future. Let me explain.

    Our experience shows that public dissent and regime response proceeds in four stages. The first stage is when dissent builds up slowly in an uncoordinated manner. Sometimes it is spontaneous. It could begin as open criticisms in the social media or blogs. It could be followed by small demonstrations and show of public dissent. The regime will respond with repressive laws and arrest. When this goes on for some time the gatherings become more intense and criticism harsher. The regime responds in a harsher manner too.

    This second stage is difficult to discern. At some point the regime responds with overwhelming force in trying to silence dissent or protests. When this happens, a psychological barrier is crossed and we move into the third stage.

    At the third stage people lose the fear altogether and the crowds get large. The regime for its part becomes violent and irrational. When this continues the regime starts to lose its morale. Police and soldiers will start to oppose orders or refuse to act as their own friends and families would also be involved in the protests. This is the fourth stage.

    In the case of Syria, the protests began with small numbers. Later it became bigger. The regime made a fatal mistake when the troops fired into a crowd sometime in March last year. When the first martyr fell to the ground the fear was lost. It was the third stage.

    I think something like that is happening in Malaysia too except that it is drawn out in a longer time frame and is more tame and controlled. I did some checking and saw that Malaysians have been protesting for clean elections for some years.

    The first organised gathering in 2007 where the police shot tear gas was a learning experience. The second gathering last year (2011) was bigger. The massive arrests were another learning experience too. Last week’s demonstration was a psychological barrier I think. People are no longer afraid of the police or tear gas and arrests. You are lucky that your police didn’t shoot live bullets. Although your police didn’t use live bullets all the same I think people are no more afraid. The next gathering will be larger. People who you thought would never join will come out and join. “

  16. how about an independent royal commission of inquiry into the sex lives of all the politicians headed by Rosie and the cowgate princess? published as a book and on the big screen, it will bring in a lot of dough for bolehland.

    just prosecute each one of the suspects on videos without bias lah. you people seem to be clueless. how the f… you people became professionals? betul sial lah. better still, is to borrow prosecutors and judges from Singapore or Australia who can show you how to conduct a trial without bias.

    after 55 years down the road the great Barisan National, which supposedly allowed the other two major races to the share power, is in its death throes. it is ready to walk over dead bodies of its ungrateful citizens to defend its golden goose.

    Bravo, umnoputras!

    once Jibs is elected again he’ll be eased out after a couple of months making way for another servant of the umnoputras. same story.

  17. I have been wodnering for days what to say. The writing is on the wall. It is a matter of time . God help Malaysia.

  18. Reading Afandee Oguz’s account, the third stage is coming: irrational and violent stage.

    We need intervention from both sides now. We need people who have wisdom and can rise above the anger to intervene now.

  19. Dato’, I implore you to speak to those you know in Umno. They must listen to someone and stop this madness. These are Malaysians and all they ask for is a “FAIR GO” ( to borrow a wonderful Aussie term) , a fair go, at opportunites for ALL.

  20. “This second stage is difficult to discern. At some point the regime responds with overwhelming force in trying to silence dissent or protests. When this happens, a psychological barrier is crossed and we move into the third stage”

    Change measured on a straight line and in a linear progression? We heard that one before and is not universally applicable. Try a different analysis.

    Malaysia is not Egypt nor anything near Syria.

    Malaysians have never had to fight for their country’s independence. Never had to shed blood. Unlike elsewhere where the military gains its legitimacy through the role it plays in the struggle for freedom from an oppressive and exploitative colonial regime. Malaysia does not have the experience to fall back on. A generation has grown up not knowing what it means like to have to fight to put food on the table. Malaysians generally live in relative prosperity. Nobody has died of starvation.

    The process of democratization has not kept pace with relative economic prospertiy. On the hand strong vested interests act to stunt the growth of the necessary infrastructure necessary for democracy to take firm roots. Poltical power instead of being fragmented becomes concentrated. That coupled with an ever growing gap between the rich and the poor makes the quest for social justice even more urgent.

    However, when push comes to shove a Tahrir experience sounds so out of sync with the political realities over in Malaysia.

  21. “Nevertheless I believe that Malaysia has crossed a very important barrier that will have significant impact on the future.”

    The only barrier that Malaysia has crossed that Saturday is the ‘sound’ barrier. But that’s what democracy is all about. Democracy is noisy.

  22. For those who prefer silence rather than noise places like China would make a better choice. Over there they have perfected silencing into an art form.

  23. This Middle Eastern student is speaking from the point of diminishing returns. The main difference from the Arab Springs and Autumns will be the heterogeneous nature of the protest. The awakening ‘middle class’ is still very much beholden to materialism, but may be willing to make a huge bet if the situation deteriorates. The generational gap is not as much as msm wants to portray it, and i would agree with Bean that modern revolutions needn’t be linear. The spark has been lit and i think the explosion will be ‘peaceful’ compared to what happened in M-E.

    The possibility of general strike or hartal has yet to be explored.

  24. troll giving its “wisdom” here. Dont you dare underestimate Dato’. So who are you then that you know this for sure? care to expose yourself. BN puppeteer/hardliner yes?

  25. and I have noticed now the trolls english is changing . All this pretense about not knowing how to speak english. Suddenly now your english is quite reasonable. If we get you angry enough you might just tell us who you really are.

  26. Bukan tukar cerita tapi tukar jantina. Wah lepasan sekolah convent Bukit Nanas, tapi cari makan depan Ban Kok Hotel (Black Cat) depan Jalan Ampang dekat AIA building tu. Famous circa tahun 1984.

  27. No luck needed Kathy, this he/she troll is on a self destruct mode. They have nothing to show for and have no self value and thus equate everyone to be as low as them. He/she is morally corrupt just like their master and can’t even think except to cause mischief to others. What a way to earn a living, even a prostitute have better class.

  28. so true. Its nice to hear reasoning such as that. It gives greatcomfort because there is still a chance then for M’sia.

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