The brutal attack by the police force on a peaceful gathering to express dissent on fuel and electricity price hikes, on Sunday in front of KLCC was violence and a violation of the constitutional rights of the people at the gathering. The right to assemble peacefully is in our constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It is clear that police had planned to be brutal, violent and forceful against innocent people. Once again it was reminding Malaysians that the police are in power and in control. They operate with full and unbridled power. The police force has enjoyed and is still enjoying this unbridled power. The consequences of such power without accountability will only lead to all sorts of abuses, corruption and arrogance.
It is indeed alarming that the police force now has come to believe that they rule the nation and that they would determine who should be in power. Such a position was revealed in a special edition of an internal bulletin 'Berita Bukit Aman' where its top level management attacked the very concept of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as 'unconstitutional, prejudicial to national security and public order, can cause a state of anarchy and undermines the ruling coalition's power'.
Such a statement reveals that the force has absolutely no respect for the prime minister's agenda for accountability and integrity. The Royal Police Commission was right in proposing the IPCMC. This agenda of the police force must be arrested immediately. The police personnel responsible for the violent attacks that left at least two people critically injured cannot be evaded nor taken for granted. A special commission must be instituted to investigate and draw up recommendations for accountability.
If the police force is clean, transparent an accountable, they have nothing to fear. In fact, the IPCMC will only lead to a more professional police force. Such a force is, at the end of the day, accountable to the rakyat who have entrusted them to keep law and order. But what we see today is innocent people being attacked while crime rate increases with security of the rakyat at stake.
We urge the Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to move forward with greater speed to institute the IPCMC in order to ensure his programme of accountability an integrity remains alive and democracy is upheld.
The writer is director of a women's and migrant workers' rights NGO, Tenaganita.