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Diverting Aminulrasyid’s shooting

“People are angry when a member of public is shot but the same can’t be said when police are shot. They have no sympathy at all. Is there a difference between the life of the public and police [officers]?”

HOME Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, asking the public to be fair to the police following outcry over the fatal shooting of Aminulrasyid Amzah, 15, who was driving home at around 2am on 26 April 2010 when he was shot in Shah Alam. (Source: Hishammuddin wants people to be fair to police, Bernama, 2 May 2010)

“I feel that we as parents must monitor our children. We cannot let go of our responsibility. We must monitor our children not only at night but also during the day because violence can happen at any moment. However, when it occurs in the early hours, then many questions will arise. Like why he was out so late, how can a 15-year-old drive a car without a licence, and what happened.”

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, responding to Aminulrasyid’s death by urging parents to keep their children at home at night to prevent them from harm. He died in the car he was driving after being shot at by police about 100m from his house in Shah Alam.

Shahrizat also urged Malaysians to change the culture of spending late nights at 24-hour eateries. (Sources: Shahrizat urges parents to be responsible for children’s whereabouts, The Malaysian Insider, 29 April 2010)

“If people do not want the law to be enforced, then I shall instruct my men to refrain from stopping cars or from going after illegal racers.”

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, defending the police force from public criticism over Aminulrasyid’s shooting. Previously, Musa had suggested that the force stop work at 5pm after a High Court ruling that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission cannot question witnesses after office hours. Musa said the ruling did not apply to the police. (Source: Be fair, give balanced views, IGP tells critics of boy’s shooting, New Straits Times, 30 April 2010)

“As a rule of engagement, police [officers] are trained to use their firearms in self-defence but it also depends on the situation …

“A weapon does not mean a gun, knife or parang. A speeding vehicle which can be used to plough into police [officers] is also a dangerous weapon. It can endanger the lives of enforcement officers and other road users.”

Musa again, defending police, whom he said could not tell in the dark whether Aminulrasyid, who was driving a car, was an adult or teenager. He warned drivers not to flee when stopped by police to avoid causing suspicion.

News reports after the incident alleged that Aminulrasyid had tried to ram into police officers by reversing the car. This, however, was disputed by his friend and witness Azamuddin Omar, 15, who was with Aminulrasyid at the time.

Reports that police found a parang in the car have also been disputed by Aminulrasyid’s family, who are angry that the boy has been labelled a criminal. (Source: Be fair, give balanced views, IGP tells critics of boy’s shooting, New Straits Times, 30 April 2010)

Where are the guidelines?

“Police may discharge their firearms when they believe that their lives or the lives of those in their protection are in danger. The key words in the order are ‘reasonableness’ and ‘good faith’. Also, the right to self-defence ceases when there is no more threat to their lives and the lives of others …

“We have the luxury of time and hindsight, but our [police] do not have that luxury. They had to decide in a split second what to do.”

Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department chief Datuk Ku Chin Wah, when asked why no charges were brought against police in the 30 Oct 2009 shooting of Norizan Salleh. He said police had acted within the ambit of police Standard Operating Procedures on the use of firearms. (Source: No charges in police shooting, The Nut Graph, 4 May 2010)

“Regardless of whether it is negligence by the family, that the boy had no licence, or that he was afraid of being checked by the police, extra caution should be practised in the usage of firearms …

“Those licensed to possess firearms must follow standard operating procedures. Opening fire must only be as a last resort and in self-defence.”

Shahrizat, having asked parents to be responsible for their children’s whereabouts late at night, also urged police to use firearms responsibly. (Source: Shahrizat: Use firearms only as last resort, The Star, 29 April 2010)

“The police have told us that there are written guidelines. However, it is a very confidential document …

“The police have told our officers that they may read [the relevant provisions] but that we cannot have a copy.”

Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) commissioner Datuk Siva Subramaniam, on police denying the government-initiated human rights body a copy of police guidelines on using firearms. The police say the guidelines are classified as secret.

Suhakam has been trying to obtain the guidelines since last year following Norizan Salleh’s case. Now, following Aminulrasyid‘s shooting, the guidelines will be re-evaluated by a special panel formed to investigate police officers involved in the incident.

Lawyer-politician Karpal Singh, who is acting for Aminulrasyid’s family, has called the probe into his death “a test case” on the reasonable limits for police to open fire. (Source: Suhakam denied shooting guidelines, The Nut Graph, 30 April 2010) favicon

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8 Responses to “Diverting Aminulrasyid’s shooting”

  1. hampeh! says:

    Whatever level, pull out the bad police and retain/reward the good ones.

  2. Tan says:

    It is not a question of the public not [being] sympathetic towards the PDRM but the way these enforcement officers discharged their firearms. Police [officers] are professionally trained to handle firearms in any eventuality as self-defense. Police should never shoot to kill suspects unless they are threatened by firepower from them. If the suspects only carry a “parang” or sword, police can aim at their hands or legs to paralyse their movements instead of [shooting] the body, unless our police force are ill-trained.

  3. Nicholas Aw says:

    The Home Minister seems to be on the defensive. Likewise, the IGP ‘threatening’ to withdraw the men in blue from walking the beat.

    To be fair to the police, they are doing a great job in maintaining peace and order in the country but what ordinary citizens are more concerned with are the ‘trigger-happy cops’ who tarnish the image of the police force.

    I believe police guidelines for the use of firearms will only allow them to discharge their handguns when their lives are threatened, for example an armed attacker charging at them or confronting alleged criminals who are armed and dangerous.

    We don’t deny that policemen put their lives at risk all the time but in the case of Aminulrasyid’s shooting, the situation didn’t warrant the discharge of firearms.

    There is and will continue to be a lot of argument on this case. However, it will not bring the life of Aminulrasyid back and others before him. What the public is more concerned [about] is for the ‘trigger-happy cops’ to be weeded out.

    I hope that the members of the force will not be discouraged by some of the negative statements about them. As far as your conscience is clear and you carry out your duties professionally, the public salute you.

  4. dr. khalid says:

    […] This kind of crap will happen if you provide monkeys with guns. They were not in a self-defense situation where shots must be fired. I believe police should only use their guns where they see firearms aimed at them or they are being shot at. They shouldnt open fire in the first instance!!!!

  5. dr. khalid says:

    Dear Deborah, I am a bit disappointed to see that you have deleted the first part of my comments. I hope you are able to post my original comments. I know you may think its racist but I don’t call it racism as I am a Malay myself…Thank you.

  6. victor tan says:

    Ha ha, police guidelines on using firearms is an official secret? If it is not open to the public, how does one know when the police will the fire on them?

    The knowledge on police guidelines on using firearms is as important to the police as it is to the population at large.

  7. Anonymous Coward says:

    “Police should never shoot to kill suspects unless they are threatened by firepower from them. If the suspects only carry a parang or sword, police can aim at their hands or legs to paralyse their movements instead of [shooting] the body, unless our police force are ill-trained.”

    Your suggestion is not sound. The reason why people shoot at the body is because it’s the center of mass and is also a large target. The impact of the bullet would have more stopping power than if it hit the arms or legs. This is standard procedure for other enforcement agencies in the world. If the shooter misses the arm or legs, that bullet could go on and kill some unsuspecting and innocent bystander. That would certainly be worse.

    The ones that ARE ill-trained will try to shoot legs and/or arms.

    We should not question where they shoot people but instead why. The police should not be able to discharge their weapons without reason. They should try to not let things escalate to the point where weapons are used.

  8. Mikey says:

    To shoot or not too shoot, that is the question.

    What will happen if the police guidelines on using firearms are made public?

    Lawyers will twist the facts to prove the police was not following the guidelines while on his/her duty in the future.

    Criminals will know if the police will shoot, or not.

    I do pity victims of police brutality, but this is Malaysia, we got tough hardcore criminals here, (and very good lawyers). That’s the fact.

    What can we do, abolish PDRM (as we hate it so much, right?). We take care of security ourselves.

    Maybe we can do night patrols around Shah Alam, set up roadblocks, issue summons, and governments to legalise guns to public.

    I believe the victim in this fatal unfortunate event was purely “collateral damage”. If he stopped and the police still shot him, that’s another story.

    Do not politicise everything. And don’t simply choose anyone to be “political martyr”, and bring up issues for political gain.

    Let the boy rest in peace. I’ll remember him as the boy who fought the law.

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