End trigger-happy shootings, lawmakers tell IGP

By Boo Su-Lyn
November 21, 2010
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers have demanded newly-installed Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar to end indiscriminate fatal police shootings instead of “frolicking” at mock casinos.

Police had shot dead a 15-year-old suspected robber on November 13, just seven months after 14-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah was gunned down by the police in Shah Alam on April 26.

“The top priority is to end cases of indiscriminate police shootings, reduce the crime rate and make people feel safer,” DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang told The Malaysian Insider today.

“These are the things that should receive the focus of the new IGP instead of going on a frolic having a mini casino,” he added.

Yesterday, the families of two of the three youths shot dead on November 13 after being suspected of robbing a petrol station claimed the trio were killed by the police in cold blood.

Muhammad Shamil Hafiz Shapiei, 15; Hairul Nizam Tuah, 20; and Mohd Hanafi Omar, 22, were killed by the police after a reported high-speed car chase in the early morning of November 13 in Glenmarie, Shah Alam.

The families’ lawyer, N. Surendran, described the shootings as a “gangland-style execution”, pointing out that the gunshot wounds showed that the victims were shot at close range and not in self-defence as the police had claimed.

“All three were shot in the head and chest with bullets exiting lower,” said Surendran.

Selangor acting police chief Datuk A. Thaiveegan, however, has reportedly defended his officers’ actions by describing the three suspected robbers as “seasoned criminals” who were allegedly involved in at least three armed robberies in Selangor last week. He claimed that the police shot the suspects in self-defence as they had allegedly rushed to attack the policemen with machetes after the pre-dawn car chase.

Today, Lim accused Ismail of mixing up his priorities and failing to end a police “culture” supporting a shoot-to-kill tendency.

“If shooting is necessary and unavoidable to protect policemen’s lives, standard operating procedures must be followed so as not to kill but to maim. It would appear that with the change of IGP, there is no change in the police culture as such. There should be a total overhaul of police standard operating procedures in such cases,” said the veteran DAP leader.

“Yesterday, the media reported police having mock casinos. This is the wrong set of priorities,” he added.

Ismail, who replaced Tan Sri Musa Hassan as the country’s top cop on September 13, reportedly set up a mock casino at the Cheras police college in a bid to train policemen on nabbing gamblers.

Policemen are reportedly taught various gambling games available in casinos and other entertainment outlets.

PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar echoed Lim’s views and said that Ismail must assure the public that it was safe from indiscriminate police shootings.

“The new IGP needs to bolster public confidence that the police will not simply shoot indiscriminately,” said Mahfuz.

He also pointed out that Ismail should train his men on various procedures to be followed in shooting cases instead of card games.

“Training should be given on how to shoot, in which circumstance, what must be done before the shooting, the criteria for a suspect who can be shot, mental training… not training on gambling,” said the Pokok Sena MP.

Mahfuz also called for a thorough probe into the families’ complaints.

“A complete investigation should be done to check if the people who were shot were really suspected robbers, and to see if the shots were fired not to kill but to apprehend them,” he said.

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar supported Mahfuz’s points and further demanded for the formation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

“The shooting is deplorable,” said Nurul Izzah.”I call for immediate investigations and reiterate the need of the IPCMC in its entirety,” she added.

The IPCMC was proposed by the Royal Commission on the Enhancement of the Management and Operations of the Police in 2005 but the government rejected the proposal on the grounds that its powers were too broad. In place of the IPCMC, the government last year established the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC) to investigate not only the police but other enforcement agencies.

The commission has, however, not been called upon to investigate Aminulrasyid’s shooting or other fatal police shootings.

The PKR vice-presidency contender also lambasted the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) for saying today that negative public perception of the police was a new “crime” that should be curbed immediately.

“What’s worse is MCPF’s latest comments, which sidesteps the readiness to take stock of the problem and ownership in providing solutions,” said Nurul Izzah.

Meanwhile, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said a report on the incident was necessary to ascertain the facts of the case.

“It’s better for us to get the report,” said Shafie.

Echoing PR leaders, Umno’s Johor Baru MP Datuk Seri Shahrir Abdul Samad also said that an open investigation should be conducted.

“I reckon since the parents made the complaints, there must be an investigation,” said Shahrir.

“As with Aminulrasyid’s situation, I don’t think there will be any cover up,” he added.

Besides Aminulrasyid, a second case involving the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Mohd Afham Arin in Johor Baru on October 20 last year has also surfaced after the victim’s mother recently demanded an independent commission to investigate the case.

According to human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), 88 people died in police shootings last year.

The NGO also claimed that not even one police officer has been held accountable and that the high number of deaths in 2009 was “alarming”, considering that there were only 13 such cases in the previous two years.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Sunday, 21 November 2010 - 5:03 pm

    Malaysian police need professional training as to when they should open fire and when they should not.

    During my stay in UK, I had the opportunity to watch on TV a documentary film discussing when UK police should open fire on the suspect. I was very impressed by the discussion.

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 21 November 2010 - 8:26 pm

    I agree that teaching the cops how to gamble in a mocked mini casino is funny. It is hard to accept the rationale “to catch a thief, we need to think like a thief”. Does one has to learn how to think or steal like a thief to catch a thief anymore than one has to visit a brothel to see how it is run to catch a pimp???

    The fact is one does not need Genting or Mini casino to coach how to gamble to know what’s gambling is. The main advantage in prosecuting anyone on a charge under our Common Gaming Houses Act is that one of the important ingredients to establish is that gambling or gaming took place. So far I can’t imagine difficulty in proving that. After all gambling/gaming is just simply defined as the “playing of any game of chance or of mixed chance and skill for money or money’s worth“. One does not need to know how the “one-arm bandit”, poker and some of the intricate card games are played to know that its gambling!

    The only advantage is that the arresting officer could go to Court and say – with assumed authority – that he caught the culprits engaged in gambling; that he knows its gambling because he was taught and shown it by Genting and mini casino in Cheras. (This assumes that the magistrate or judge cannot otherwise divine or figure that out for himself that gambling had taken place. Maybe the magistrates and judges should also be given a free tour of Genting).

    The more important thing that PDRM should be taught is the intricacies of the Common Gaming Act. They have always apprehended and inconvenienced members of public for gambling, ignorant that gambling even not in licensed premises (eg in private residence) is not illegal per se.

    What is illegal according to the Common Gaming Houses Act is:

    • unlicensed gambling in public places such as streets, roadways, lanes, and open spaces, and any place to which the public has or may have access;

    • unlicensed gambling in private premises to which the public or any class of the public has regular access for habitual gambling;

    • even if public has limited or no regular access to the private premises (eg only members of a society allowed access), it is still a place kept or used for unlicensed gaming for 8 or more persons or even if there were no persons gambling except the operator of a public lottery, or any banker’s game via Internet gaming

    • the ownership or management of any of the above premises termed a “common gaming house”.

    The funny thing is that the “the mock casino” in the Cheras police college has all the features of an illegal “common gaming house” but for the fact that the games are played there for the policemen’s knowledge or knowledge worth rather than for “money or money’s worth”.

  3. #3 by raven77 on Sunday, 21 November 2010 - 9:38 pm

    Our police force is very very poorly trained…

    To make matters worse they are hopelessly corrupted…there is no fear in them getting caught at all…..almost the entire force are from Malay schools….essentially labourers in uniforms…..

    We are quickly degenerating into a has been nation…..the lack of law and order will prevent the influx of investment…and the vicious cycle will mire us into a web of debtors and eventually a bankrupt nation…..all the signs of a violent ending are there….tick tock

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 21 November 2010 - 10:22 pm

    This kind of thing can be investigated and established by forensics ie – whether it is true as the families’ lawyer, N. Surendran, said, “All three were shot in the head and chest with bullets exiting lower”. If true it suggests that they might be probably kneeling down when they were shot (executed as the lawyer said), inconsistent with the self defence version of their having rushed to attack the policemen with machetes. (Unless the police were on an elevated ground in relation to them). Muhammad Shamil Hafiz Shapiei, 15 also considered a “seasoned criminal”?

  5. #5 by dawsheng on Monday, 22 November 2010 - 12:19 am

    I am sure this will not be the last time and wonder who’ll be the next victim of PDRM. Then you have news like topping up 2.3 million RELA members will surely hasten the country into permanent chaos. Something must be done now to stop all this madness.

  6. #6 by sheriff singh on Monday, 22 November 2010 - 1:12 am

    Do you believe it is a ‘mock casino’? Cows can fly.

    Next they will set up ‘mock’ Toto, Magnum 4D, Kuda betting outlets so that the Police can ‘learn’ how these are operated.

    Then they can also set up ‘mock’ Ah Long businesses so that they will know how Ah Longs operate.

    Then what about ‘mock’ prostitution?

    And ‘mock’ illegal sports betting?

    And ‘mock’ corruption.

    The list goes on.

    I am surprised that no one has said that this ‘mock’ thing is forbidden under certain religions.

  7. #7 by johnnypok on Monday, 22 November 2010 - 4:17 am

    No need to teach them at all, because many of them are expert, some are even addicted to gambling … after all, they are also humans … majority are Gaji buta. That is why the standard is so low. Local gangsters are more efficient.

  8. #8 by undertaker888 on Monday, 22 November 2010 - 9:01 am

    The answer lies within the football team match against China in Guangzhou. That is exactly the mentality when dealing with delicate problems. Just hammer thru with brute force blindly. In the end the result is 3-0.

  9. #9 by cskok8 on Tuesday, 23 November 2010 - 9:29 pm

    How come so many detainees are dying from pneumonia / lung infection??? Can we trust the post-mortem results?

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