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Reality check on reforming the police April 8, 2006

Posted by elizabethwong in Columns, Current Affairs, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics.

Formation [Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia]I read a commentary piece, where our boys in blue reportedly turned on the taps, during a closed-door meeting between the ruling coalition parliamentarians and the police over the proposed bill on the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

I almost cried too – from laughter.

Perhaps many would fail to appreciate the fine show put up by the police. But for many of us who have been working on police reform for more than a decade, we have documented and seen too many cases to start dishing out tissues, group hugs and Washington apples.

It wasn’t too long ago when the former (now disgraced) Inspector-General of Police, Rahim Noor, threatened human rights organizations with arrest and indefinite detention without trial when we tried to organise a gathering of victims of police brutality.

Rahim Noor had a problem with the image of dozens of people on stage, recounting how the police sided with developers who were conducting illegal evictions, or women repeating what police officers said to them when they tried to lodge domestic violence reports, or of family members describing the bruises and welts on the cold bodies of their loved ones, who were well and alive before they were placed in police lockups.