- How Can We Have Faith in the IGP?
- What are BITs, FTAs and the TPPA?
- Is Education Act 1996 unconstitutional?
- Banning DIBS long overdue
Posted: 01 Jul 2013 01:26 PM PDT
"The lies are not in the core print of the statutes book but in the integrity of the police officer, whatever his rank."
Kee Thuan Chye
In street parlance, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) is in deep shit.
Khalid Abu Bakar has been singled out by the judge who gave his verdict on the civil suit brought by A. Kugan's family against him, the police force and the Government as having not told the truth about how Kugan died while in police custody four years ago.
Khalid was then Selangor police chief. In his first statement to the media at the time, he said Kugan collapsed and died after drinking water. In a subsequent statement, he said Kugan died of water in the lungs.
When an independent post-mortem initiated by human rights lawyer N. Surendran found that Kugan had suffered 45 external injuries and a wide range of internal injuries due to severe beatings, leading to his death from acute renal failure, Khalid did not clarify why its findings contradicted glaringly what he had said to the media.
Senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad, in the civil suit hearing, agreed with the judge that Khalid should have held a press conference to clarify the matter. "Only God knows (why this was not done)," Azizan is reported to have also said.
Indeed. There is a world of difference between dying of injuries sustained from being beaten and dying of water in the lungs.
At the hearing, Khalid testified that there was no cover-up in the investigations into Kugan's death, and he denied all the allegations against himself, the police force and the Government over what had happened to Kugan.
However, judge V. T. Singham said in his ruling that there is sufficient evidence against Khalid for misfeasance as a public officer. He said with absolute certainty, "No person in any position or rank, when testifying in court, should take this court for granted and attempt to suppress the truth to escape liability."
He also said, "The lies are not in the core print of the statutes book but in the integrity of the police officer, whatever his rank."
The import of these words is serious. They call into question the credibility and integrity of the country's highest-ranking police officer. How much faith can the Malaysian public now have in Khalid Abu Bakar?
What will the government that appointed him to this high position do now? Should it ignore the judge's comments and continue with business as usual? Let's use an analogy. If, say, the head of a key department of a company were declared by a court of law to have committed a breach of trust, what should the CEO of the company do?
It already reflects badly on the Government for having selected someone who had some baggage to a position that demands the highest integrity of its occupant. The Kugan case is, after all, no small matter. It is a contentious case that has been hogging media attention for a long time.
Furthermore, in the case of Aminulrasyid Amzah, the 14-year-old schoolboy who was killed after having been shot 21 times by police in 2010, a police report was lodged by the boy's parents against Khalid alleging a cover-up. Khalid has denied the allegation and also the claim that he had called the boy a criminal, but the subsequent public perception of him has been negative. It doesn't help any police officer's reputation to be confronted with cover-up allegations twice.
Besides, last April, the boy's family took out a lawsuit against the police and the Government, naming Khalid as one of the subsequent defendants. And to cap it all, under his current watch as IGP, two other men – N. Dharmendran and P. Karuna Nithi – have recently died while being held in police custody.
How now can the public have faith not only in the IGP, but also the police and the Government?
More than ever, the Government needs to set up an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), as proposed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry of 2005, to bring about police reform and keep watch on the conduct of police officers. Judge Singham himself categorically says there is an urgent need for this. Most Malaysians would agree.
And yet Home Minister Zahid Hamidi is saying that the IPCMC would overlap with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and contradict the Extra Territorial Offences Act 1976 and Section 127a of the Criminal Procedure Code.
This is mere pussyfooting. The IPCMC would be specifically looking at complaints against the police. If it could encroach on the territory of the MACC, which is tasked with probing corruption, it would be in taking on complaints against corrupt police officers. If this be the case, a provision could surely be made to relieve the MACC of tackling police corruption and channelling this to the IPCMC instead. In fact, this might make the handling of police corruption more efficient.
As for the other existing legal provisions, the Government is surely aware that it is capable of working things out to circumvent this problem.
Zahid's insistence that the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) that was set up instead of the IPCMC would be enough to do the job is ridiculous when the CEO of the EAIC, Nor Afizah Hanum Mokhtar, has recently disclosed that the Commission has only one investigating officer probing complaints against the police, and its recommendations on action to be taken against errant cops so far may not even have been implemented.
The real question we need to ask is, does the Government care enough to want to bring about police reform? Does it care enough to ensure that citizens will be safe in police hands?
The lip service that the Government pays to this issue is supposed to give the impression that it cares. But the problem is, truth coming from the halls of power these last few years has been in such short supply that we can't seem to trust whatever the Government says or does.
At this rate, unless the Government proves it is worthy of trust, we the rakyat may be the ones who'll be heading for deep shit.
No More Bullshit, Please, We're All Malaysians
Posted: 01 Jul 2013 12:57 PM PDT
Malaysia should learn from Peru's experience and be most cautious about signing any BITs or FTAs that a company like Lynas may later use against Malaysia.
Lim Mah Hui, FMT
On June 14, 2012, Malaysiakini reported that Malay Economic Action Council representatives walked out of a meeting with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) because the latter was unwilling to disclose details of their negotiations on the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement).
MITI has been engaging in negotiations on the TPPA for many months and is inclined to sign the agreement. To a lay person, TPPA, BITs and FTAs are dry and arcane abbreviations that do not interest us. Yet they have serious impact on our lives. So what are they and why should we bother about them?
BITs stand for Bilateral Investment Treaties, FTAs stand for Free Trade Agreements, and TPPA stands for a specific FTA called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that is currently under negotiation among a number of Pacific Rim countries including Malaysia. All these are bilateral or regional agreements signed between countries.
The US has been pushing hard for countries to sign such agreements with it. The current furore over the TPPA arises from a fear that these treaties and agreements may contain provisions on such issues as investment and intellectual property rights that could have adverse consequences on a signatory country's national policy-making capacity. For example, the tighter and more monopolistic intellectual property regimes imposed by such agreements could prevent Malaysia from producing cheaper generic versions of essential medicines patented by the major pharmaceutical corporations.
In this article, however, I shall focus only on the investment aspects of these agreements.
In the heyday of economic and trade liberalization, many countries signed bilateral investment and trade agreements with each other to promote trade and investments. There are over 3,000 BITs in existence.
The purpose of BITs (as well as the investment chapters in FTAs) is to promote and protect the investments that one country has in another country. However, it is now recognized that the first generation BITs are one-sided; they protect the interests of private investors at the expense of public interests. Many governments that have signed such treaties, without understanding the legal implications, are now paying for the mistakes.
Posted: 01 Jul 2013 12:53 PM PDT
Can justice Mohd Noor Abdullah tell us if the Education Act 1996 was enacted by Parliament for the purpose of dividing the people?
Jiwi Kathaiah, FMT
The former Appeal Court judge Mohd Noor Abdullah had on May 12, declared at a forum that the vernacular schools (SJKs) have no place in the national education system of this country as the Federal Constitution does not recognize them and should, therefore, be abolished.
He is reported to have raised the following points in support of his call to abolish the SKJs (Chinese and Tamil schools):
1. According to the constitution there should only be one stream of schools in this country.
2. The national-type schools (SJKs) should be abolished because the constitution does not recognize them.
3. The existence of Chinese, Tamil and private schools divides the people.
4. What is a single school? During the British era, there were government English schools, so now there should only be primary government schools and secondary government schools.
5. So the SJKs that exist today, the SJK (C) and (T), we change them to government schools. There will be no "type" schools, only primary and secondary schools.
6. If there are schools that oppose, then the way is to obtain a court order to declare that the existence of Chinese and Tamil schools is not legal and against the constitution.
7. The state funds used for Chinese and Tamil schools are not provided for under the constitution.
8. Article 12 of the constitution states that it shall not prejudice the right of the federal government or the state government to establish or help in establishing Islamic schools and incurs such expenditure as may be necessary.
For religious schools, the constitution says state funds can be used to set up such schools or to assist those who set up religious schools and to use state funds as much as needed. Where does it mention Chinese and Tamil schools?
The counter argument
A simple rebuttal to the points stated above is in order.
Point 1: If the former Appeal Court judge Mohd Noor Abdullah was referring to the Malaysian constitution, then it must be pointed out that nowhere in the constitution it is provided that "there should only be one stream of schools in this country."
Point 2: Nowhere in the constitution it is stated that SKJs are not recognized.
Posted: 01 Jul 2013 12:46 PM PDT
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