PETALING JAYA, 30 April 2010: The police have denied the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) a copy of its written guidelines on the use of firearms despite requests following a shooting that happened last year.
“The police have told us that there are written guidelines. However, it is a very confidential document,” Suhakam commissioner Datuk Siva Subramaniam told The Nut Graph in a phone interview.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng visits Aminulrasyid’s
family (file pic courtesy of DAP)“The police have told our officers that they may read [the relevant provisions] but that we cannot have a copy,” Siva added.
He said Suhakam asked for the police guidelines following the police shooting of Norizan Salleh who was shot five times but survived. On 26 April 2010, 15-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah was shot dead in a car by police in Shah Alam.
Siva said that the police standard operating procedure on the use of firearms should be made public.
“The public doesn’t welcome a trigger-happy attitude from the police,” said Siva.
Internal and restricted
Earlier attempts by The Nut Graph to obtain the police guidelines were also unsuccessful.
When asked by The Nut Graph on 2 Mar 2010, at a ministry event, about Norizan’s shooting, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein sidestepped the question about shooting guidelines.
The Nut Graph then wrote to the ministry on 3 Mar 2010 to request for the guidelines to be disclosed in the interest of public accountability.
Letter from the Home Ministry
(click thumbnail for larger size)
The ministry replied in a letter dated 30 March with the following: “The ministry takes note of your request for the guidelines on the use of firearms by the Royal Malaysian Police.
“In relation to the aforesaid request, you are advised to liaise directly with the police at the following address.”
The letter provided the Inspector-General of Police (IGP)’s address at Bukit Aman.
The Nut Graph sent in a written request on 28 April to the IGP for the written guidelines and is awaiting a response.
The Nut Graph was informed in March by Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk Ku Chin Wah that the guidelines were an “internal, restricted administrative document not meant to be circulated in public.”
Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago said that media reports show there were 39 fatal police shootings in 2009 while a Suaram statement said there were 44 such deaths the year before.
According to these statistics, there are on average more than three reported deaths per month from police shootings.
Police report of finding a machete in Aminulrasyid’s car is met with doubt from the public
“While we concede that police have the right to self-defence, in cases such as [Aminulrasyid’s], the public won’t buy the story. They even doubt the report that police found a [machete] in the car. It is vital that an inquest is held into the death to build up public confidence in the police,” Siva said.
No charges in police shooting
Are the police shooting to kill?
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If a person for some reason had to transport a machete, it seems to me that the best way to ensure that they could not be accused of being about to use it is to put it in the boot of their car. The reliability with which a gun and 4 machetes are found in the *car boots* (as opposed to in their hands, on their belts or concealed in their shirts) of dead people in Malaysia is incredible. For such dangerous individuals, your malefactors seem to be very safety-conscious.
Since when have guidelines on the use of firearms by the police become a “secret” or classified ‘internal document’? Is it now closed to public scrutiny and deemed under the category of the Official Secrets Act? How did such hijacking of the legal system evolve in our government and public institutions?
Do you recall that Malaysian meteorological reports was deemed “secret” under the Official Secrets Act during the haze phenomenon? It was sanctioned by the Barisan government without any explanation or referendum. What other documents will now become secret? May doctors, civil engineers, lawyers, politicians and porn stars join in this elite class?
We are not far off from becoming a banana police state.
With regards to meteorological reports, it was specifically the Air Pollution Index (API) that was banned during the worst haze years of 1997 and 1998. The figures were released during subsequent haze episodes following public pressure.
But you still make a valid point about how arbitrarily our government classifies information that is of public interest.
Assistant News Editor
The Nut Graph
Bona Fide says
The law enforcement situation in Malaysia has become untenable with a crooked cop in charge who shows open defiance against an impotent home ministry and a seriously compromised crime minister. We’ve allowed the rot and corruption in Umno to fester for far too long! All the institutions – including the monarchy – have lost their moral authority and the entire Umno/BN cabinet is tainted beyond redemption. In effect, Malaysia is up […] creek without a paddle.
Hwa Shi-Hsia says
You know, “parang” is a perfectly good word. I realise you’re editing your stories and readers’ comments for minimal Manglish, but come on, “machete” is also an originally non-English loanword.
Abdul Aziz Ismail says
Kita ada KPN cacat akhlak, kini dah berjangkit ke anggota polis lain. Sebelum merebak teruk pecat je KPN.
I agree with the point about ‘parang’. TNG isn’t alone in using ‘machete’. A quick search of TMI shows 50 results for machete and 49 for parang. The wikipedia page for Parang suggests they’re only superficially similar. It would be an interesting twist if the dead criminals were all carrying non-native knives.
In the aftermath of the July 07 train bombings in England, jittery police shot dead a young haversack-carrying man who was later found to be an innocent tourist from Brazil. The fury of the public in both Britain and Brazil was such that a commission of inquiry was established and the police were found culpable right up to the highest ranks. Apologies and monetary damages were made to the surviving family in Brazil. In addition appropriate action was taken within the police force. From the time of the incident to the verdict of the commission there was hardly a sound of protest or attempt of intimidation from the police in the UK.
But what do we have here? Our top cop goes on damage control for his â€œboysâ€ and threatens to withdraw them or let them be bystanders while crimes are committed. See what has happened to a once proud, professional and dependable institution that was at the vanguard of public morality and safety â€“ staffed mostly by morons with little or no feelings for the very people who pay them for their protection. They seem content with waylaying foreign workers, motorcyclists, petty criminals and members of the opposition party who have been elected to hold office or run state governments. In the case of Aminulrasyid and countless others who died, the reaction to the grief of those immediately affected and the anger of the public at large, the top cop rants and froths.
Dear Mr IGP, please have a chat with your counterpart in the UK at the time of the shooting of the young Brazilian and educate yourself to see if your are fit to hold office anymore!
If anything, these guidelines could very well be under uncharted territory. Based on what has been happening recently, we (the public) may just be able to create our own understanding of police guidelines.
For starters, being in possession of an automobile would constitute as an action for deadly force. Perhaps citizens should take to riding bicycles, if they wish to not get shot at then?
The Malaysian police have been getting away with murder over the years. Suspects go into the police lock up healthy and a few hours later, they commit suicide!! Suspects are shot and killed. Only when there is a hue and cry, a scapegoat is found and is advised to take the blame. The Malaysian police behave as if they are a bunch of gun- toting, trigger-happy licensed goons in the likes of Dirty Harry, Rambo and James Bond all rolled into one.
In the first place before discussing the content of in the car, the sequence of incidents should be clear. The sequence of events is such crap. They said the boy was running away and then the boy aimed the car at them – no real evidence, even if true. No clear sign of imminent danger. Before the sequence is clear, they said they found a machete. If the sequence is unclear, whether [they found a] machete or not, is irrelevant.
It’s not that cops are trigger happy – the cops sound like they are not in the police force to do the tough part of their job. Their idea of their duty and their job IS PERVERTED, just like their commanding officers all the way up […].
Dead persons can’t talk. How did the police know that weapons were there before they started to shoot to kill. What are the procedures to follow before they can act like cowboys, firing about 20 shots into a teen, or 5 shots to a woman? Too many shoot to kill incidents, and police must answer to the public. We pay the salary of the police, thus it’s our right to know. The police are our protector, not otherwise.
House Victim says
The Home Minister had forgotten that he is the boss of the police. Government officials are so used to passing buckets around from junior to seniors, so it has become part of the “culture”!
The police claimed that the shooting guidelines are P&C. Why? Is Malaysia already a police state? Is the PDRM above the law? Or perhaps there isn’t a written one in existence.