Po­lice need to act now

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

When­ever force or vi­o­lence is used by an un­law­ful as­sem­bly or by any mem­ber thereof, in pros­e­cu­tion of the com­mon ob­ject of such as­sem­bly, ev­ery mem­ber of such as­sem­bly is guilty of the of­fence of ri­ot­ing.

S147: Who­ever is guilty of ri­ot­ing shall be pun­ished with im­pris­on­ment for a term which may ex­tend to two years or with fine or with both.

N Oone needs to in­ter­pret th­ese two clauses in the Pe­nal Code to our law en­forcers. All po­lice­men un­dergo ba­sic lessons on the Pe­nal Code dur­ing their train­ing. Oth­ers, in­clud­ing of­fi­cers who act on be­half of the pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor as prose­cut­ing of­fi­cers, un­dergo spe­cial­ist train­ing at the Po­lice Col­lege in Kuala Kubu Baru.

There­fore, af­ter watch­ing var­i­ous video clips which have ap­peared to be au­then­tic on so­cial me­dia, right-minded Malaysians have a right to ask: “What are the po­lice do­ing about the ac­tions of the scores of thugs who are cre­at­ing havoc in pub­lic places?”

Peo­ple are way­laid along pub­lic roads; women are chased around in shop­ping malls; jour­nal­ists are be­ing ha­rassed; and there have even been threats to bring down build­ings. Have we de­scended into a law­less state?

A re­tired po­lice of­fi­cer had this to say on his Face­book post:

I have served in the Royal Malaysian Po­lice for 36 odd years and went through the mill to be­come a Po­lice Of­fi­cer and un­der­went through the pe­riod of May 1969, var­i­ous du­ties in Traf­fic, High­way Pa­trol, Anti SS Of­fi­cer, IO/SIO, Pros­e­cu­tor, Law Lec­turer in CID Col­lege, PRO, OCS, Camp Com­man­dant ... As­sis­tant Con­troller in var­i­ous Elec­tion pe­riod from Mid 80s ... till re­tire­ment ... Never have I seen a group of peo­ple who can freely re­sort to vi­o­lence or force be­ing used in pub­lic while the au­thor­i­ties watch ... It is a very sad stage. De­ter­rent ac­tion is rarely put into use ... Please do cor­rect me if I am wrong !!!!!!!” (This pas­sage was edited for clar­ity).

Pre­cisely the point – Why aren’t the per­pe­tra­tors be­ing hounded and hunted down when a mere innocent post by a jour­nal­ist on holy wa­ter prompted po­lice to jump over his gate and ar­rest him in the wee hours of the morn­ing?

The po­lice seem to be pur­su­ing the wrong horse in want­ing a planned protest for which ap­pli­ca­tions have been sub­mit­ted to stop. As was pointed out by Pro­fes­sor Gur­dial Singh Ni­jar in his col­umn on Mon­day, the home min­is­ter de­clared Ber­sih il­le­gal on the ground that it was be­ing used for pur­poses which threat­ened the se­cu­rity of Malaysia and pub­lic or­der. The High Court quashed the min­is­ter’s or­der. That was in 2011.

That or­der was chal­lenged in the High Court which said that the or­der was ir­ra­tional – mean­ing that it was so out­ra­geous that no sen­si­ble per­son who had ap­plied his mind could have de­clared it as il­le­gal. Be­sides, it was il­log­i­cal and lu­di­crous.

But in the wake of all th­ese, let us go back to what the home min­is­ter-cumdeputy prime min­is­ter told re­porters at the Par­lia­ment lobby last month. He said ac­tion will be taken against any group that has vi­o­lated the law in par­tic­u­lar the Peace­ful As­sem­bly Act, and that the gov­ern­ment will not com­pro­mise no mat­ter if they are yel­low shirts or red shirts.

“The gov­ern­ment will be fair and we will take ac­tion re­gard­less of the colour. If there is any party that vi­o­lated the law espe­cially the Peace­ful As­sem­bly Act, ac­tion will be taken. We will abide by the law,” Astro Awani quoted him as say­ing.

With such con­vic­tion shown by the min­is­ter, what are the po­lice wait­ing for? But as Gur­dial noted, the IGP has thrown in his lot on for­eign fund­ing which he has cat­e­gorised as po­ten­tially a crime of “un­der­min­ing par­lia­men­tary democ­racy”. Af­ter two weeks of brouhaha and hot air in the me­dia, ev­ery­thing has died down.

Shouldn’t the pri­or­ity be law and or­der? The po­lice have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to al­lay the fears of or­di­nary Malaysians that they are in con­trol of law and or­der. Not act­ing on all the ev­i­dence as shown in the video clips, ag­gra­vates the sit­u­a­tion.

Need more be said?

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