PETALING JAYA: Many are in disbelief that the Malaysian police force has been rated the best in Asean, as recently revealed by an international body.
Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said the ranking was nothing to shout about considering that the yardstick was the police forces of other Asean countries.
“I would certainly question that recognition, and I think that you are not comparing yourself with the standard you aspire to be,” Paulsen told FMT.
He also said it was hard to believe that Malaysia was rated higher than its neighbour, Singapore.
Yesterday, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that the Malaysian police had been rated the best in Asean by an international body. However, Zahid, who is also deputy prime minister, did not reveal the body or give further details about the criteria for the rating.
Commenting on Zahid’s statement, Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy said the ranking was not something to be proud of as there were several under-developed countries in Asean.
He said it was hard to believe that Malaysia had such a high ranking when there were so many deaths in custody, most of which are unsolved to this day.
He also noted that there were several cases where the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca) had been misused.
Paulsen agreed with Sevan, saying that due to the lack of resources, police were compelled to use Poca and Sosma, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, as a “short cut” to the real policing required to combat crime and detain hardcore criminals.
Suaram’s report on May 26, 2016 stated that from 2013 to April 30, 2016, a total of 721 prisoners had died in custody, an average of 18 deaths in custody a month.
According to a report by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) on deaths in police custody, of the 369 detainees under remand, almost 10% alluded to having witnessed, heard or suffered physical violence by police officers in detention centres.
Meanwhile Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshini said she was curious as to how the crime rate in the country was calculated as it did not tally with actual occurrences.
She noted Zahid’s comment that the crime rate in Malaysia had gone down by 47%, but that only 20% of the public had a positive view on police crime prevention.
Zahid had called on the police to find a more effective approach to deal with the public so as to better understand their problems and find solutions.
Ivy Chong and Nurul Azwa contributed to this article.