Malaysian cops rapped for ignoring human rights
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Malaysian cops rapped for ignoring human rights

National police chief has warned district police chiefs that their jobs are at stake if they don't learn to respect human rights.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 12:02 IST

National police chief Inspector General Bakri Omar has warned 145 district police chiefs that their jobs are at stake if they don't learn to respect human rights.

Bakri was speaking on Wednesday at the launch of a three-day seminar on human rights for the district chiefs.

"We have been teaching you about human rights all along ... you cannot say we have not been teaching you. If this (seminar) is not enough, then we can make it longer," Bakri was quoted as saying.

"After that, if you still do not understand, then you might as well look for another job. We do not want stupid officers," he said.

Bakri singled out an incident in which 10 Chinese men who were rounded up in January for alleged gambling had their heads shaved while in lock-up.

"Why do we concentrate on things that are trivial when there are more important things to do?" Bakri said. "Why find 10 men and shave them bald?"

He said he was sure that many of the district police chiefs had not studied the Police Act, a law on police procedures.

"In fact, I am sure some of you don't even have a copy of the Police Act. This is something you should keep with you and read from time to time."

Bakri's outburst was the strongest dressing down in recent years delivered publicly to the Malaysian police.

The 80,000-strong force came under widespread criticism after it was revealed that police routinely strip male and female detainees naked and force them to perform squats.

The government banned the practice after one such nude squat incident involving a woman was recorded secretly on video and circulated nationwide late last year.

A government-appointed panel of experts has recommended overhauling police procedures, saying there is a lack of publicly available information on police powers as well as avenues for people to make complaints against officers.

The three-day human rights seminar for police officers was also recommended by the panel.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 11:02 IST