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Friday, November 26, 2010

Govt inaction fosters police brutality, says SIVARASA

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By Patrick Lee
KUALA LUMPUR: A Member of Parliament today complained about what he called a “culture of impunity” in the police force and called on the government to be “strict and effective” in cleaning up its image.
R Sivarasa (PKR-Subang), speaking to reporters following his failed attempt to initiate parliamentary debate on a recent police slaying of three Malay youths, said the government’s reluctance to act against police brutality was encouraging some officers to become “criminals in uniform”.
Last night, he filed a motion that sought a debate on the Nov 13 killing of Muhammad Shamil Hafiz Shafie, 16, Muhammad Hairul Nizam Tuah, 20, and Muhammad Hanafi Omar, 22. Deputy Speaker Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar rejected the motion on the ground that it was not of urgent interest.
Sivarasa noted that the killing happened in the midst of the Aminulrasyid inquest. Like the three boys, Aminulrasyid Amzah, 14, was fatally shot by police after a car chase in Shah Alam. That incident happened on April 26.
“This is a serious matter and not an isolated incident,” Sivarasa said, adding that there had been many similar cases since 1998 and that not a single police officer had been charged in court.
“This means we will have a culture of impunity where the police can do whatever they like without fear of conviction. With incidents like these, we can say that these are criminals in uniform.
“I don't blame everyone in the police force. Not everyone in the police is bad. But the government has to be strict and effective in cleaning up the image of the police.”
Sivarasa said the wounds on their bodies showed that the boys were shot at close range; they were either sitting or lying down. The policemen have claimed they shot in self-defence.
The families of Shamil Hafiz and Hairul Nizam lodged a report against the police on Nov 20 at the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters.
Sivarasa said the two were shot in the head and chest. “In both cases, the bullets went in and came out. In Hairul's case, it was a top-to-bottom angle. The bullet entered through the left ear and came out by the right ear.” There were also bruises around Hairul Nizam's right eye, he added.
He said that the two families noticed these details when the bodies were being readied for burial.
Sivarasa also said the two families were angry with Selangor’s acting police chief, A Thaiveegan, for describing the boys as dangerous criminals.

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