Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Muhyiddin Yasin, a 'bad' Home Minister? Maybe time for cabinet re-shuffle?

Muhyiddin Yasin, as Home Minister, is responsible for the police and enforcement agencies...but, he has been disappointing with his lack of response(let alone action) when it comes to police actions and wrongdoings ...Maybe, he was too long in UMNO-BN, including being the Cabinet of Najib as DPM. He may 'repent' and change in time ...but maybe, this may take more time. Maybe, he should not be the Home Minister - maybe, he should be made another Minister - maybe the Foreign Minister, Sports Minister,...but looks like not the Minister in charge of the police and other enforcement agencies..

Extrajudicial Killings Need Speedy Independent Investigations - 6 Reported Shot To Death By Police After Pakatan Harapan Became Government.

There have been several cases, of police shootings that resulted in the death of victims ...remember the primary objective of police is to ARREST...not to kill. Did Muhyiddin even comment on these incidents? Did he talk about an independent review of these killings? Not yet, I believe...

Image result for muhyiddin yassin news
Home Minister?

Of late, there has been case of lawyer Siti Kasim being arrested, and worse the police applied for further remand to kepp her in a 'police lock-up'... Najib was not even arrested or remanded for the purpose of investigation - that is the correct approach. (See Bar statement below)

This is what the police and other enforcement agencies should generally be doing ...All you need is to summon persons or 'suspects' to come in for need to arrest.
When suspects are arrested, they should speedily be released on police bail...and asked to return to the police station when their presence is required for further investigation...they should best not be 'remanded' ...and forced to stay in police lock-ups...Remember, such persons are merely suspects...and many may not even end up being charged in court. The arresting and keeping suspects in 'police lock-ups' must be reviewed - is it connected to contracts awarded to people who supply food? Is detaining people just another was to ensure 'food supply contractors' get profits?

Under the UMNO-BN rule, it was not uncommon to see many arrested, remanded for days....and, we all hoped that things would have changed with the coming in of Pakatan Harapan as the new government ....but maybe Muhyiddin Yasin is not up to the job?

There is much to be done in improving the administration of justice in Malaysia - and this should be Muhyiddin's focus.
The first major thing that Muhyiddin looked into was foreign workers - when clearly this is a matter of human resources, and it should be handled by the Human Resource Minister - not the Home Ministry. It looks like during the UMNO-BN era, foreign workers being a 'big business opportunity' was retained under the Home Minister...when it really should be under the HR Minister - we bring in workers only if there are no qualified local workers, and who best to ensure this but the HR Ministry. Or maybe, Muhyiddin should be the HR Minister instead...

HR Minister not Muhyiddin should be looking at 'migrant worker' and HR reforms and ending 'kleptocracy'/corruption'?

Really Muhyiddin and other Ministers must keep pace with Mahathir, Guan Eng and the other active Ministers that are 'cleaning up' and reforming things speedily...If you cannot keep up with that pace, time maybe to resign?

The Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (“IPCMC”) is something that will come in the future - so, please Mr Home Minister, deal with the many outstanding problems which are still happening today...NOW.

Abuse of Police Investigative and Detentive Powers Must Stop

The Malaysian Bar is appalled and outraged that Siti Zabedah Kasim (“Siti Kasim”) was arrested and detained during the early hours of 24 June 2018 for purportedly kidnapping her client, Anis Izzatty Ruslan (“Anis”), and for allegedly obstructing a public servant in the discharge of his/her public functions pursuant to sections 363 and 186 of the Penal Code respectively.

On 21 June 2018, Siti Kasim was informed that Anis had been taken to Kajang Hospital for a medical examination without her consent.  Anis, on the advice of Siti Kasim, left the hospital and thereafter, sought temporary refuge at Siti Kasim’s home.

Subsequently on 23 June 2018, a number of police officers forcibly gained entry into Siti Kasim’s home when she was not in by breaking open several locked doors to gain access to Anis, allegedly to prevent her from injuring herself and others.

When Siti Kasim queried the police as to the whereabouts of Anis, she was asked to report to the Kajang Police Station.  Here she was arrested pursuant to section 363 and section 186 of the Penal Code.  She was thereafter handcuffed and remanded overnight before being produced at the Kajang Magistrates’ Court on 24 June 2018.

At the remand hearing, the police sought a four-day remand order.  However this was only in respect of the allegation of obstruction of a public servant under section 186, and interestingly, there was no reference of the initial allegation of kidnapping.  After hearing submissions from all parties, the Magistrate refused to grant the application for remand.  The police are said to be still investigating the matter.

It is pertinent to note that Siti Kasim was at all material times discharging her duties as an advocate and solicitor, as instructed and appointed by her client.

The independence of an advocate and solicitor to act for a client without fear or favour is fundamental to the administration of justice.  A lawyer must at all times be allowed to advance a client’s rights without obstruction or impediment, or fear of prosecution for carrying out his or her duties as an officer of the Court.  Any unwarranted interference with the discharge of such duties is a serious violation of the independence of the legal profession, and an affront to the administration of justice. 

It is troubling that the police continue to grossly misconstrue their investigative powers and to exercise these powers in a high-handed and oppressive manner.  Powers to arrest are not meant to be used to begin gathering evidence against an individual.  Further, investigative powers cannot be used to arrest or detain individuals, or to seek remand orders, only for the purposes of gathering evidence. 

At the outset, the police should have conducted thorough investigations in respect of any police report lodged against Siti Kasim rather than simply proceeding to effect an arrest.  The powers of investigation and arrest must not be used to intimidate suspects and the application for remand orders must be used sparingly and only when necessary.

This failure to act in an impartial manner undermines the credibility of the police force and further erodes their neutrality, integrity and professionalism.  The conduct of the police in this case will invariably give rise to an irresistible inference in the public’s mind that the police are once again abusing their power.

The Malaysian Bar demands that the police recognises and respects the role and responsibilities of lawyers and refrain from any action that is likely to harass, impede or obstruct them from performing their duties.

It is to address such abuses and high-handedness of the police as in this case that the Malaysian Bar has relentlessly advocated the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (“IPCMC”).  The Malaysian Bar calls on the Government to fulfil its electoral pledge to establish the IPCMC without further delay.

George Varughese
Malaysian Bar

25 June 2018

No comments: