Police top brass must respond to outrage over miscreant officers



LETTER | Edict, the Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together NGO, calls on the inspector-general of police to explain the inaction of the Department of Integrity and Compliance to Standards (Jabatan Integriti dan Pematuhan Standard [Jips]) over a report of serious alleged misconduct by a PDRM officer.

On Jan 22, lawyer M Visvanathan e-mailed a letter to the director of JIPS. Ten days later, Jips has not even acknowledged receipt of the letter.

In the letter, Visvanathan reported the alleged misconduct of Sergeant Ariffin Ismail. He asked that a disciplinary investigation be commenced on three matters, as follows:

First, on Jan 20 and 21, 2019, during an inquest hearing before Coroner YA Mahyon Talib (judge of the Sessions Court, Kuala Lumpur), Sgt Ariffin repeatedly failed to satisfactorily answer questions put to him by Visvanathan and deputy public prosecutor Nurliyana Mohd Jafri. 

The sergeant disobeyed the coroner’s instruction to him that he answer as directed. Because of the sergeant’s belligerence, the coroner stood down the hearing for several minutes.

Second, on July 10, 2017, Sgt Ariffin contravened Rule 7 of the Lockup Standing Orders when he brought tobacco into the cell of detainee Benedict Thanilas (who subsequently died in custody) in the Jinjang lock-up. The sergeant admitted to this offence while he was under oath.

Third, he gave allegedly untruthful testimony when he said, under oath, that he personally assisted and moved the unconscious Thanilas out of his cell. The sergeant, when shown a CCTV recording of what happened on that day, agreed that his earlier testimony was false.

Edict notes that the courtroom drama and revelations have been widely reported in the media and that the public has expressed outrage over the sergeant’s conduct.

Edict calls upon IGP Abdul Hamid Bador to ensure that action is taken speedily against the sergeant and to inform the public of this.

Edict notes that the sergeant was a corporal when he committed alleged misconduct in the lock-up – and that his misconduct was not addressed by those who investigated the death of Benedict Thanilas on July 10, 2017.

Edict calls upon the IGP to investigate and inform the public why action was not taken in 2017 against the sergeant.

Edict further calls upon the IGP to instruct JIPS to attend all inquests into deaths in custody and initiate investigations as warranted.

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