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Monday, November 12, 2007

Congratulations BERSIH and Malaysian Civil Society

My heartfelt congratulations to the organizers of the BERSIH 10-11 March and to all Malaysians who made the event what it was.

I was on the Bar Council Urgent Arrest response team and found myself waiting on the side-lines for the SOS calls we were anticipating. Thankfully, the calls were few. The events of Masjid Jamek aside and, in my view, the unnecessary arrest of some of the demonstrators, I think the Royal Malaysian Police showed commendable restraint and foresight, a state of affairs which deserves recognition. I believe that it is largely due to this restraint that the event did not become the chaotic melee that some of us were anticipating it might become. The events of Pantai Batu Buruk and Bloody Sunday are still fresh in the minds of many Malaysians.

There were arrests though and as the evening drew to a close, I found myself with a few other lawyers at the IPK KL on Jalan Hang Tuah. The 34 who were arrested were all released by 11.00 pm Saturday evening (the Suaram web-site has details). While the police officers we dealt with were friendly and courteous, the lawyers were not permitted entry to the police station nor any opportunity to meet with our clients. This ran counter to recent amendments introduced to the Criminal Procedure Code that entrench the right of a person arrested to meet with his lawyers before giving a statement to the police. Statements were taken despite our reminders to the police officers concerned of the rights of those detained.


With R Sivarasa, lawyer and Keadilan EXCO member, and Shan Kanesalingam, lawyer. Outside IPK KL.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Suggest posting a brief Criminal Procedures Code in all necessary related websites so that citizens can be aware of such for their future reference.

The more knowing, the bigger reminder to the Police that they have to do it . The better could be a more civilized society that we can enjoy, including the Police.

KL police in this instance, had lost their chance in telling Malaysia, or, the world at large that as Police in the Federal Territory, they stick to Rules!! Too Bad!!

Being courtesy to lawyers could be because another station is sued by the Lawyers. But, the Police should learn their courtesy which should in fact extended to each and every average person by the Rules (Laws) or more as a human being which has not different from a Police!!

We should take that at least KL police is improving but still below the legal requirement. PLEASE CONTINUE YOUR IMPROVEMENT - KL POLICE!!
A country cannot go without Good Police as well as Good Lawyers!!
The latter to my personal experience, have much space to improve either!!