PDRM’s 3 minutes to disperse….. 1,2,3 Catch, Catch, Catch!

by Augustine Anthony

It is now clear that the assurance given by Justice Syed Ahmad Idid to Anthony Clement Skinner (who is now the Kota Kinabalu High Court Judge) in the case of Datuk Yong Teck Lee v PP & Anor 1993 1mlj 295 has travelled through the intestinal passages of abuses of constitutional protection of citizens and now awaits it’s final moment. To be flushed down in the toilet bowl.

Skinner’s (as he then was and whom I know as a judge blessed with enviable judicial temperament) fears were well founded as he provided an illustration of the extensive powers of the police under the Police Act 1967 and the likely abuses by the police.

“‘If three school boys decide to go to the cinema for a film show, they cannot do so. It is illegal to do so unless they have a licence from the OCPD to do so. Any steps taken in furtherance of the intention (without a licence) would render the meeting or assembly illegal and any person taking part thereto shall be guilty of an offence.”

Justice Syed Ahmad Idid then confidently provided words of comfort and assurance when he went on to say:-

“I am unable to accept this contention or illustration in the face of the fact that thousands of patrons, without any licence, frequent the cinemas and other functions every day and night in Malaysia and the police do not charge them under the Act or the Code………….. But assuming for one moment that the three school boys entered the cinema hall and are met by 100 other people whom they do not know, and who are bent on having an illegal meeting and not watching the film. The authorities charged with the responsibility of maintaining law and order and public peace rush in. The school boys………. have a defence in two other instances: firstly, when they follow the route and/or time set by the police for the assembly or meetings; or secondly, they disperse when the police so order”

Very nice, all of it, in papers and court judgments but the reality is far from what is described in judgments like this.

Must ordinary citizens need to go through the hardship of an unnecessary and unwarranted arrest in the first place? Why should they be subjected to a charge in court that would require engaging a lawyer that would be a costly affair and not to mention the waste of public funds to prosecute such trivial offences?

Take for example the recent arrest made by the police of the 7 Perak Legislative Assembly Members and a Member of Parliament and some others seen attired in black in Ipoh on the 26.05.2008.

Did the police provide a clear route or time for people to disperse? I need not explain or write further. Suffice for me to say that Malaysiakini, YouTube and many other press reports had revealed enough for people to judge the conduct of the police.

This is one ugly episode that could have been wholly avoided if the police had only displayed some restraint particularly so in view of the fact that the prevailing atmosphere at the time of the arrest was peaceful and orderly.

It baffles me as to why the police need to deal with peace loving Malaysians like as though they are some dangerous criminals who threaten the peace and security of our country.

It baffles me even more simply because as a lawyer I come across many police officers in my day to day job be it in court or elsewhere and I find many of them, when met personally, have polite and pleasant dispositions with hopes and aspirations just like many of us but I cannot understand why collectively as a police force their conduct invites such disparagement.

I simply do not think that they enjoy doing what they are ordered to but perhaps more compelling will be the reason that insubordination will lead to loss of career prospect or even loss of job.

It is for this reason a minister or senior police officer should not simply give orders to their subordinates, the very orders that they themselves will find it hard to execute.

Remember! People in power can delegate their authority but not their responsibilities. As such I will not blame the ordinary policemen who carry out these orders but their superiors who gave such ridiculous orders to be executed.

The persistence of the Police in the application of S27 of the Police Act 1967 liberally, especially against members of political parties that have opposing views than of the ruling government, I am afraid is creating unnecessary and undue anxiety in people.

If M. Kulasegaran a hugely popular elected Member of Parliament for Ipoh Barat constituency (where the arrest took place) and V. Sivakumar also an elected representative who is equally popular among the Perakians (or perhaps Malaysians) could not walk freely in public and mingle around with voters without fear of arrests by the police then why bother having elected representatives.

The police must understand that these are elected representatives. Surely their presence in public places will invariably invite some well wishers, some seeking help or even some for casual banter and it is the duty of the police to protect these elected representatives during these occasions and simultaneously promote such healthy assemblies and not otherwise impede or obstruct them thus creating unnecessary anxiety amongst the public.

The word “pemimpin berjiwa rakyat” was not coined simply for the sake of lip service. It has a deeper meaning. It creates a necessity for leaders to be always close to people. And it is for this reason that a true leader is judged by his grassroot support that drives home the point that he had touched base.

The Prime Minister knows this more than other political leaders for the simple reason that the Malays loved his father as a true people’s leader. The prime minister’s regular meet-the-people session is certainly to replicate the glory days of his father during his time.

So why should there be double standards? People ask.

Just as much as the leaders of the component parties of the ruling federal government, the leaders of the opposition parties also have their sworn duties as elected representatives to regularly meet the people and share the problems faced by them.

Why is their attempt to be close to the people made difficult by the constant harassment from PDRM and its liberal use of the Police Act 1967 to arrest people who gather peacefully?

Right thinking people are already questioning if elected representatives, who had shown no hostility and no violence towards any person especially to the police, could be publicly humiliated by such unpleasant arrests, how could ordinary people expect the police to be their guardian for peace and security.

There are other nagging thoughts that need to be addressed too. Are the arrests of these elected representatives done deliberately to put fear in people to such an extent that it is hoped by those in power that a climate of fear will be designed in such a way that it will prevent ordinary people from assembling peacefully in the future.

Whichever way one sees it; one thing is clear and that is, the ruling government is promoting a hate culture that is unhealthy in the long run.

While the current prime minister is making the needed efforts to win the trust of the people, perhaps if he can only caution the police to be more undemonstrative against peaceful assemblers and offer more breathing space for people who are opposed to the views of the ruling federal government then it may very well go a long way in soothing the people’s anger.

Without going into the overdrive of religious zeal, I can safely say that all teachings of religions drive home the point that respecting human rights is respecting divine laws and none can go wrong by respecting the wisdoms imbued in laws that govern nature.

So can we Malaysians get some respect before we return the same to people in authority?

  1. #1 by drngsc on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 8:52 am

    We have all seen the you-tubes and police abuses. There is no doubt in any of our minds that the police are partisan and abusive. with severe mis-use of power. I was most upset when I saw the many you-tube postings on the recent spat of police abuses. This is a police state. This country is deteriorating rapidly into a failed state. Democracy is a convenient word for those in power to use when they wish to. It means nothing to them.
    I would suggest that our PR leaders think of how to organise all those who love Malaysia, our country, to fight for a change and end this corrupt government.

  2. #2 by DAP man on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 9:22 am

    Is is possible to reason with animals? They act on instinct and impulse.
    There other day we had some discussions about the police and believe in, NOT one person trusts the police and in fact they hated like hell.
    If anyone is brave enough to conduct a poll on police behaviour, you will know what I mean.

  3. #3 by monsterball on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 9:43 am

    The police have been protecting UMNO so much…that it is now…more a Police State than anything else.
    Just look at he daily signs and actions.
    One can argue law and lawlessness which many people in the streets who does not understand but can ..see and understand injustices done….bullying tactics….even murder committed in police station…and get away with it.
    It is a chess game that police maybe helping UMNO to win ruling the country forever…by hook or by crook.
    People’s Power must not fall into traps.
    Stay calm..let them do what they want…..calling it law or protecting the country or innocent by-standers.
    So much have been done..so clearly..police is protecting UMNO.
    We can say..it is their duty to protect the government from evil doers..trouble makers…and so on.
    Therefore…it is indirectly pointing to voters…supporting what’s happening now.
    Will voters correct their mistakes in coming 13th GE?
    Signs are so clear..that Najib dare not even go to Penanti to contest ..with 72% Malays as voters.
    Therefore…People’s Power is what Police is afraid right now. We know Police is not protecting UMNO as an elected government…but as a political party.
    Police leaders are playing politics.
    Even a blind man can see that.
    Live with it..stay calm and do not fall into their traps to rojak Malaysia…..to suit their agendas.

  4. #4 by Jong on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 10:03 am

    They stay out of Penanti so that their dogs can do the ‘cleaning up’ and that whore be paid to further mess things up! I had suspected this would happen. Will arresting every opposition politician guarantee wins for them in all coming elections including GE-13? Fat hopes!!

    They talk about Chin Peng being a Communist but they behave far worse than them and now, Najib has gone off to ‘kow-tow’ the Communist Party Chief in China?

  5. #5 by boh-liao on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 10:10 am

    It’s terribly terribly pitiful
    that ordinary mata-mata become the target of dislike
    by the rakyat
    all becos they have to follow unreasonable n lousy orders
    given by their superiors instructed by BN politicians
    Mata-mata now become the rothwailers of BN

  6. #6 by michgyver1 on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 10:48 am

    that’s is 3 seconds, not 3 minutes. Bodoh punya polis.

  7. #7 by -ec- on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 10:52 am

    when things are so out of balance, people’s power shall prevail. get ready, Malaysia. this day is not that far from now.

  8. #8 by lee wee tak_ on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 11:07 am

    “It baffles me as to why the police need to deal with peace loving Malaysians like as though they are some dangerous criminals who threaten the peace and security of our country.”

    change the word “our country” to “you know who” and lo and be ho! there is no more baffling incomprehension.

    If the PDRM have enough professionalism in them, the hordes from UITM protesting the 10% competition and the various imminently more aggressive gathering by Pewaris and also the group that called His Majesty “Nantang” should be at least equally and deservedly more harshly dealt with by these Jantans who turned away when rapists, robbers, murderers are raping, maiming, killing and robbing the tax payers who foot their livelihood (legal source or otherwise)

  9. #9 by lee wee tak_ on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 11:13 am

    let’s do a hypothetical projection. assuming Pakatan won big enough to form the Federal Government in next GE, what would the PDRM do? Would they commence arrest as there are great number of people gathering around polling centres to wait for the result and perhaps some might gather around mamak stalls to celebrate the realisation of their dreams and hopes.

    if PR were to form the FG or failing that, retain the same or even more state governments, would the PDRM pledge equal level of co-operation to BN controlled FG or state governments.

    if PR were to proceed with the IPCMC, would we see another “internal memo” from “individual, disgruntled” officers to urge officers “not to co-operate” or “vote opposition”?

    PDRM should not pledge loyalty to any political parties or scoundrels but to the raykat, king and country

  10. #10 by Loh on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 11:14 am

    ///Without going into the overdrive of religious zeal, I can safely say that all teachings of religions drive home the point that respecting human rights is respecting divine laws and none can go wrong by respecting the wisdoms imbued in laws that govern nature.///–AA

    That is asking too much of the BN powers-that-be. Their pea-brains are busy with allowing democracy in form and not in prcatice. They need only to ask themselves this question– would they like to be treated the ways they treated others, if not stop it.

  11. #11 by wanderer on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 11:22 am

    If Royal Mata Mata can think and act intelligently, they would not be a pain in the A3se to the rakyat, is’nt it?
    Sadly, it is not the case, they do not even posses common sense and human decency.
    There are more kangaroo courts and ‘dignified judges’ in the nation today, to shield all these tainted Institutions and personnels…so, either we stay away from trouble or, create civil disobedience in the nation…it is about time to show the Peoples’ Power.
    There is a limit to men’s patience and tolerance!!!

  12. #12 by negarawan on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 12:29 pm

    The general public already realize that Najib is “Bapa Slogan Kosong” within the first two weeks of his PMship. In his desperate attempt to rebrand UMNO and the ruling BN government, he has come up with slogans such as “1Malaysia”, “Performance Now” but everyone realize now that these are just empty and misleading propaganda by UMNO. In reality, the situation within UMNO and the country is worsening by rife corruption, abuse of authority and serious injustices to the rakyat. Malaysia needs an urgent change of government!

  13. #13 by YK Leong on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 1:46 pm

    The “HEAD HUNTERS” screaming at the top of his voice through a loudhailer “TANGKAP, TANGKAP, TANGKAP”. He did it twice. The first time directed at 14 people and the second time directed at 5 lawyers. I really enjoyed the show.

  14. #14 by frankyapp on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 2:21 pm

    Just change the present head(IGP) and the body PDRM will wag accordingly to it’s new head.PR when it wins the next federal government should do it immediately.Failing which,PR stands no chance of forming the government even if wins big in the 13th general election.I can assure you guys the losing umno/Bn will create chaos to prevent PR to form the government let alone rule the country.They will create a kind of a May 13 scenario,back up by the IGP and PDRM to allow mass demonstration by it’s members.The demonstration will go nationwide and with evil intention to orchestrate chaos so that the umno/Bn acting government can remain in power by declaring an emergency.No doubt we need a change of government. we (rakyat) must not just vote in PR but must also ensure that PR can form the government.PR should be aware of the ultimate evil plan of the umno/Bn when it’s lose power.PR should have a plan ready to counter or neutralise such evil act by umno/Bn should it happens.Otherwise,what’s winning and not able to forming the government.

  15. #15 by ktteokt on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 2:29 pm

    New offences in MALAYSIA:

    1. Wearing black – arrest
    2. Lighting candles – arrest
    3. Fasting – arrest

    I just like to know what would happen to funeral processions where all descendents of the deceased wear BLACK?

    And what do police do to temples and churches when they light candles? And what about MOON CAKE FESTIVAL where many people light candles for lanterns?

    Would the police start to arrest ALL MUSLIMS for fasting during Ramadhan?

    Malaysia is getting to be a RIDICULOUS NATION where harmless commodities and acts have become HARAM!!!!!!!

  16. #16 by boh-liao on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 2:43 pm

    What would happen to funeral processions?
    Simple saja – tangkap semua in black n the kofin too
    Moon cake festival
    No polis permit to light candles for lanterns
    Tangkap lah
    Fasting, no permit, tangkap too

    All international tourists must be forewarned
    Malaysia Boleh
    Tangkap you in black, you fasting, you lighting candles …..

  17. #17 by sightseeing on Saturday, 30 May 2009 - 3:23 pm

    //Whichever way one sees it; one thing is clear and that is, the ruling government is promoting a hate culture that is unhealthy in the long run.//

    I must say that BN has the best formula and very successful in promoting a hate culture. Just to name a few of their successes:

    People hate the PDRM because of their stupid abuse of authority.
    People hate UMNO because of their racist leaders.
    People hate MCA, Gerakan and MIC because of their pathetic and selfish leaders. People hate the Hee woman of Jelapang because of her betrayal of trust and greed for money.

  18. #18 by Jason Ng on Sunday, 31 May 2009 - 3:57 am

    as said Nga Kor Ming, Polis Raja Di Malaysia.

  19. #19 by johnnypok on Sunday, 31 May 2009 - 4:41 am

    Malaysia is transforming into a FANTASY LAND to compete with Disneyland.

    The main attraction includes, NO FASTING, NO WEAR BLACK SHIRT, and NO LIGHT CANDLES.

    Other attractions = You cannot utter the name of ALTANTUYA


  20. #20 by blablowbla on Sunday, 31 May 2009 - 10:45 am

    actually it’s damn obvious that BN allows police to bribe ,corrupt n power abuse,on the other hand,for sure they will protect their masters!
    if PR rules,good days will be gone forever,just like toiyo’s goldcoast 15 year projects………..my goodness,if he were to be successful on these projects,he is third to mamak kuthi n semivalue of the TOL projects which will last at least 35 years!

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