Saturday, May 1, 2010

Please Get Justice Out of Jail for Aminulrasyid

Has justice been thrown into jail following the killing in the early hours of 26 April of a schoolboy, Aminul Rasyid Amzah, in Section 11, Shah Alam, who took his sister’s car for a ride into town? He was barely 15.

Police want us to believe he and his schoolmate, Azamuddin Omar, 15, were possibly robbers who kept a machete in the car. Can that at all be true?

We were quickly told not to politicize the event. Did it become political because reports on the macabre event were written by the Pas Member of Parliament for Shah Alam, Khalid Samad, in his blog from a day after the Barisan Nasional had won in the Hulu Selangor by-election?

Khalid Samad’s reports based on witnesses' accounts showed the boy was already shot dead before he could reverse the car he had driven to threaten the lives of the armed policemen.

The IGP, Tan Sri Musa Hasan, by insisting that the boy had actually reversed the car as reported by the police personnel involved, caused the public distress to turn into indignation and logging more than 35,000 hits on Google search in six days (by 1st May) compared to 20,800 hits for single mother, Norizan Salleh, police had shot five times on Oct. 30, 2009.

She is still seeking for justice.

Could it be possible justice is in jail and we would need to aggress to free it before it can be done?

The number of people who died in police custody and those shot on the streets have been rising too high for anxiety to remain subdued in this terribly apathetic society.

In the recent killing of the schoolboy the CPO of Selangor, afraid the incident would become a major political issue, was reported to have said the policemen would be charged for murder. He asked, “Isn’t that enough?”

In other words, he admitted a serious crime had occurred and the execution of the schoolboy would be dealt with by the court of law, himself wishing to avoid a public probe some people had suggested before the outgoing IGP was taken to the crime scene and driven the six kilometers of the car chase (or it could have been merely 1.2 kilometers) that ended with a shot to the back of Amirul’s head.

The deadly shot was one of four from close range, or so we were told by a witness. Many more shots were aimed at the car tyres on the way to the fatal end, said police.

In short, the IGP, in his over-zealous I-take-care-of-my-men display, which he denied was his motive, had wittingly or unwittingly confused the already heated public indignation.

Musa Hasan was widely reported to have threatened to take his men off the streets “if that’s what you want!”

If not for the quick move by the Home Ministry, he could have set the public indignation into popular agitation in the streets and the stage would be made for uproar and riots, led by the Opposition, or who else? Aminulrasyid can be our son or our kid brother, you see.

What did the Home Minister do?

He suggested an eight-man panel to run an open inquest, the panel chaired by his deputy and the members would be drawn from the public, which is good for securing the people a true picture of what happened on the fatal night for the schoolboy who took his sister’s Proton Iswara at midnight to help a friend in Section 7 whose motorbike had a puncture. Or he and a friend could have gone to meet a couple of school girls. Should that matter?

It is clearly visible from the above that members of the Malaysian public who had troubled themselves to read what Khalid Samad had contributed on his blog would have formed a clear picture in their heads and cannot believe the police story. Hence, a panel-inquest becomes necessary before the trial.

The IGP should hold his breath for a little and ask himself how the Police Force is perceived. A few years ago his predecessor, Tun Haniff Omar, had written to say that his wife would have him armed with a pump-gun even if he was going out at night to attend a meeting in town.

In recent years the Force had stood as a tight pack to reject wholesale the suggestion to impose on it the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), the suggested Commission standing as a loud statement of slackness, corruption and lack of discipline occurring in the police department and causing public anxiety.

Tan Sri Musa Hasan may believe society has decided he is a failure and so he is extra sensitive as his days at the helm dim.

That is not true. Most people are also appreciative of the police in general, many of whom have died for us in the line of duty. But the gratitude and appreciation cannot mean you are above criticism and cannot be called to book.

People are generally aware the Police Force has had to recruit and train large numbers, making discipline difficult to invest in the short training.

We have also been told when some senior officers from the district level up are transferred, they take with them their “boys”, causing the district to loose accumulated contacts and information.

It seems like central authority in the department has been undermined and if that is true a commission is called for to investigate and to study the dysfunction and then to recommend the means available to secure and rehabilitate the department.

It is possible the department may have become too large and should be split into several departments, some placed under different Ministries since their functions may not properly fit into the role of the Police Force.

In a society that’s aiming to become a developed society in ten years lugging public apathy as a crucifix, we can certainly do without sensitivities overwhelming the meager efforts made by the conscientious to get justice out of jail and reaffirmed as a strong value in this would-soon-be First World nation.

Amirulrasyid is now dead. The boy falls under the Child’s Act and had he been booked for the traffic offences he was guilty for, his name and identity would have been withheld by the law.

But police officers shot him in the head about 100 meters from his house, a decent suburban environment that had bred a boy who wanted to become an astronaut, but who had learned to drive years before he was eligible for a driving licence.

The Selangor CPO had said only one of his men had discharged his firearm. Well, what is there to say about that other than to acclaim his great talent!

Whether you like it or not, the police, instead of becoming people-friendly, which was the policy objective some years ago, has become increasingly nasty and is already a monster. A Royal Commission will be required to tame it.

Now will someone please free justice from jail and bring the crime to its court?---a. ghani ismail, 2 May, 2010