Thursday, September 22, 2011

The system’s breaking down — The Malaysian Insider

The system’s breaking down — The Malaysian Insider

September 22, 2011

SEPT 22 — Anti-corruption officers extorted RM1 million from money changers. Policeman sentenced to five years’ jail for shooting 14-year-old boy in the back. The Attorney-General accused of a string of serious and damning offences, including fabricating evidence.

Nope, these are not headlines from a banana republic in Central America or Zimbabwe. This is what is happening in Malaysia and is only a snapshot of a system falling into a serious state of disrepair, where there is a serious blurring of lines between law enforcers and law breakers, where the culture of easy money and lack of respect for the rule of law are hurting the country’s once-respected institutions.

Oh, you can bet that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will talk about how a few bad apples should not sully the whole basket but we believe recent evidence suggests that the problems at the anti-corruption agency are institutional rather than isolated.

Wasn’t it the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh Beng Hock’s death which found the behaviour of the MACC interrogators abhorrent? And of course that was before the Customs official fell to his death and where a CCTV recording mysteriously disappeared.

Aminulrasyid Amzah was shot in the back by a policeman and in another incident, the court awarded RM900,000 to a man who became paralysed after being shot in the back.

Are the cops remorseful? We doubt it judging by the response of top cop Tan Sri Ismail Omar. He did not think it necessary to offer Aminurasyid’s family an apology. Perhaps he had forgotten that his men tried to portray the boy as a criminal to justify the shooting.

Of course, no one can bring the boy back but a simple and heartfelt sorry to the family would have been the proper thing to do.

Instead, they received some mumbo jumbo from Ismail. But we should be grateful for small mercies. At least Ismail said something about this case.

He had said zilch about the reports and letters from his former comrade Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim detailing the alleged abuses of Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail. At the very least, the nature of the accusations merits an independent inquiry.

But Ismail has been quiet as has the prime minister. There is no charade or pretence of an investigation. Just a complete shutdown of any information.

Nobody in the police force or the MACC seems interested in pursuing these allegations.

Or maybe they are too busy making their own headlines.

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