As the title suggests, the Malaysian police (Royal Malaysian Police/RMP or Polis DiRaja Malaysia/PDRM) are accorded Royal treatment in Malaysia. They get away with something only Malaysia’s Royals (and powerful people connected to the ruling party) can do (Read here). The data released from P. Uthayakumar’s ongoing sedition trial (Read here) provides some interesting facts.[Editor’s note: P. Uthayakumar is charged for sedition for highlighting the fact that a disproportionate number of Malaysian Indians have been killed by the RMP. Also the number of Indonesians killed is disturbingly high. It may be one of the reasons that the Indonesian public is angered with Malaysians. (Read here)]
Shooting deaths according to ethnicity
2000: Malays (4); Chinese (2) Indians (0)
2001: Malays (0); Chinese (1) Indians (3)
2002: Malays (6); Chinese (12); Indians (6)
2003: Malays (2); Chinese (4); Indians (7)
2004: Malays (2); Chinese (7); Indians (1)
2005: Malays (1); Chinese (4); Indians (4)
2006: Malays (2); Chinese (0); Indians (3)
2007: Malays (3); Chinese (4); Indians (4)
2008: Malays (7); Chinese (9); Indians (11)
2009: Malays (15); Chinese (9); Indians (23)
Total: Malays (42); Chinese (52); Indians (61)
Top 10 facts from the PDRM (Polis DiRaja Malaysia/Royal Malaysian Police) fatal shootings statistics (2000 – 2009)
1. Lowest number of deaths: 5 (2001);
2. Second lowest number of deaths: 9 (2000);
3. Highest number of deaths: 88 (2009);
4. Second highest number of deaths: 82 (2008);
5. Total number of deaths from 2000 to 2009: 279 victims;
6. The increase from the lowest number of deaths at 5 (2001) to 88 (2009) is 17-fold;
7. Fatality percentages/ numbers according to race/ nationality: Indonesians: 40.5% (113 deaths); Indians: 21.8% (61 deaths); Chinese: 18.6% (52 deaths); and Malays: 15% (42 deaths);
8. So Uthayakumar was right to say that Indians are disproportionate victims of fatal police shootings;
9. The number of deaths without proper identification: 80 victims;
10. A Liberian UNHCR registered refugee/ asylum seeker was killed in 2008, and classified under “Negro”!
Source: Lawyers for Liberty
However, the issue of police brutality is not new. P. Uthayakumar, the leader of Malaysia’s Human Rights Party and whose trial is bringing to light these grim statistics, first came to prominence by highlighting police brutality and murder in this report to the Asian Human Rights Commission (Read here) and forming Police Watch Malaysia (Facebook page here)
Just how powerful is the Royal Malaysian Police?
When the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) was put forward by a Royal Commission (only the most serious issues are accorded treatment through a Royal Commission in Malaysia, whose members are appointed by His Majesty the Yang DiPertuan Agung of Malaysia on the advice of the Prime Minister), it had cross-bench support and that of the public. However, the RMP was dead set against it and threatened the Badawi administration, who then crumbled under pressure from certain quarters in UMNO, as UMNO relies on the RMP in many ways to stay in power. A watered down version was eventually passed in 2009 (Read here and here)
In an internal police bulletin (in 2006), the RMP (PDRM) had this to say about the IPCMC:
“…The bulletin stated that the special edition was published as suggested by the Inspector General Mohd Bakri Omar himself to “provide views by the PDRM top brass and those who have opined that the IPCMC is not appropriate to be implemented”.
Nine reasons listed by the bulletin in the chapter of ‘rationale’ in opposing the IPCMC included:
- Against national security and public order.
- People will be the victims and the result will be a state of anarchy.
- Undermines the ruling coalition’s power.
- Undermine the IGP’s administrative and enforcement power.
- Crime cases will be out of control.
- The scope of ‘misconduct’ is too wide and will complicate the routine duty of police.
- The formation of IPCMC will mean that other bodies such as the Police Force Commission, Anti-Corruption Agency, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, Attorney-General’s Chamber, Public Complaints Bureau and the Internal Security Ministry have failed in the discharge of their duties.
- The draft bill of IPCMC is against the Federal Constitution, natural justice and the rule of law. It discriminates police personnel from ordinary citizens and against the police personnel’s fundamental human rights.
- It will ‘soften’ the police because it creates a direct or indirect effect on the police, making them feeling fear and not confident in carrying out their work.
In another chapter, ‘IPCMC – Why We Don’t Need It’, an additional reason to oppose the IPCMC is that it will eventually cause the politicians “to lose their powers”.
“The explicit and implicit effect of the formation of IPCMC is that the real organ which exercise powers of control over the police will be the IPCMC’s commissioners and not the minister,” the bulletin claimed.
By way of comparison – the number of police fatal shootings in the United Kingdom, which has a population of 61 million compared to Malaysia’s 27 million, has been the target of terrorist attacks, and faces the same issues that Malaysian police does (domestic and international crime).
2004/05 (3 deaths); 2005/06 (5 deaths); 2006/07 (1 death); 2007/08 (5 deaths); 2008/09 (3 deaths) – according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (Read here)
So, if your in Malaysia, do be careful of the police and accord them the same respect you would to Royalty. They literally have your lives in their hands.