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The aftermath of the attempted robbery at the Atria mall, Petaling Jaya on May 18, 2018. — BBXpress

Extrajudicial killings need speedy independent investigations, says Malaysian NGO

A Malaysian Non-Government Organisation is calling for speedy independent investigations by the new Pakatan Harapan government as six individuals have been reportedly shot to death by police After Pakatan Harapan became Government.

In a statement issued on Monday morning, MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) expressed its disappointment with the lack of response of the new Pakatan Harapan government, in particular the Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, being the Minister in charge of the police, about at least 3 recent possible ‘shoot to kill’ incidents, that were reported in the media, that involved the death of 6 persons who were shot to death by the police.

Below is MADPET's statement on the matter

The duty of the police is to arrest persons suspected of committing a crime, and the police can use ‘reasonable force’ in carrying out these arrest.

The Malaysian Criminal Procedure Code, in section 15 states most clearly how arrest is to be made. Section 15(2) states, “(2) If such person forcibly resist the endeavour to arrest him or attempt to evade the arrest such officer or other person may use all means necessary to effect the arrest.” The word used is ‘to affect arrest” – not kill.

Section 15(3) states that, “Nothing in this section gives a right to cause the death of a person who is not accused of an offence punishable with death or with imprisonment for life.” Stress must be given to the word ‘accused’, not just suspected of committing an offence. Hence, subsequent ‘post-killing’ statements that they were suspected of being involved in past crimes in no way can justify such killings. Sadly, the victims, now dead, cannot even deny these allegations or tell us what really transpired.

The question that arises now, is whether these shooting that resulted in death was reasonable or really necessary. Were the police shooting to affect an arrest, or were the police shooting to kill?

The recent 3 reported incidents of concern, that happens after Pakatan Harapan has become the new government following the General Elections on 9/5/2018, are as follows:-

2 shot dead by Police (D9) – Star, 16/5/2018   

In the Star report dated 16/5/2018, entitled ‘Cops kill two robbers in shootout’, it was alleged that a police personnel from Bukit Aman Serious Crimes Division (D9) stopped a car whose occupants inside were ‘acting suspiciously’, and when they identified themselves as police, shooting ensued resulting in the death of the 2 occupants. It is suspicious that the car had stopped at the request of the police before the shooting allegedly happened.

3rd suspect shot dead by police (D9) – 19/5/2018

In another Straits Times report dated 19/5/2018, entitled ‘Malaysia cops shoot dead third suspect in Damansara Jaya goldsmith robbery’. It was reported that “…SAC Fadzil said that in the latest incident, policemen from the Selangor Police Serious Crimes Investigation Division (D9) had chased the suspect as he sped off in a Honda Civic car, which eventually skidded and crashed into a tree."The suspect came out of the vehicle and opened fire at the policemen. The policemen returned fire and killed the suspect," he said in a statement….”.

What is odd of this, is the fact that the police, the day before had said, ‘…According to Selangor Criminal Investigation Department chief Fadzil Ahmad, the incident took place at 5pm on Friday (May 18) after six robbers wearing helmets and jackets stormed into the mall located at the Damansara Jaya area… A shootout ensued and as a result, two suspects were shot dead, while another suspect was injured. Four suspects, including the one injured, were arrested by the police for further investigations…’(THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, Straits Times, 18/5/2018). There is no mention here of any other suspect escaping, and noting that they were all wearing helmets, one wonders how the police even identified the person killed the following day.

Police shoot man with machete – 21/5/2018

In a Star report dated 21/5/2018, entitled ‘Police shoot fake forex syndicate member dead’. Here, the victim was not even shooting at the police, and the report says, ‘…“He came at them with a machete and they had to open fire to defend themselves, killing him,” he said….”

What will our new Pakatan Harapan government do about these extrajudicial killings?

MADPET is disappointed that Muhyiddin Yassin, our new Home Minister, who is responsible for the police, or the Pakatan Harapan government has failed to respond promptly when these killings happened, and have yet to tell Malaysians how they will deal with these cases of police shooting that have resulted in death.

This kind of killings  had been an issue of concern, that has been raised up by many human rights groups, including the Malaysian Bar for past few decades, but sadly the then UMNO-BN government failed to satisfactorily address this matter. It is hoped that our new Pakatan Harapan will finally deal with such issues justly.

The late Senior lawyer and former Bar Council president Raja Aziz Addruse did say ‘…that proper justification must be given for the taking of a life. “Just to say, ‘Because they were shooting at me,’ is insufficient,” he says. “In many of these cases, there’s always a gun found in the car. It’s just too coincidental. Very often, all the people allegedly involved are killed...”

He also had cited ‘…the need for an independent tribunal to look into police shootings. “In other countries, an independent inquiry would be held to find out what happened,” he says. “For example, in the UK, an inquiry was held in the case of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.” The inquiry eventually found the Met police force guilty of endangering public safety, and it was penalised for shooting de Menezes dead….’

How the new Pakatan Harapan government deals with these recent cases of these ‘extra-judicial killings’, more so since these incidents happened after they became the new government of Malaysia, is crucial.

There certainly must be quick independent inquiries into these recent incidences, which have resulted in the death of 6 persons or possibly more, noting that not all such incidences do get reported.

While MADPET appreciates the fact that the new Pakatan Harapan federal government is in the process of establishing an Independent Police Complaints-Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as mentioned by the Minister of Home Affairs Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on 22/5/2018, steps need to be taken now to immediately investigate these police ‘shoot to kill’ incidences. Delay is not an option.

MADPET proposes that the Minister immediately appoint an interim Task Force, to immediately investigate these cases. Further, the Minister and/or the government should maybe order that inquests (or inquiries into the deaths) be done for all such cases, where police shooting resulted in deaths.