Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Malaysiakini Police Need To Be Sue For Brutality

A victim of police brutality during the Bandar Mahkota Cheras fracas last May has decided to sue the police force following a Suhakam finding today that the police had used excessive force on him.

Chang Jiun Haur, a 24-year-old mechanic, told Malaysiakini that he would be filing his suit after the Chinese New Year which falls on Jan 27.

"I will sue...we will see what happens after that," he said.

"I am not satisfied with the police because I have lost my front teeth, and according to the x-ray I had, it showed that I had some internal bleeding in my brain.

"It is better for me to do it (file the suit) while I'm still alive," he said angrily.

Meanwhile, the second victim at the fracas - Chang's employer, Chan Siew Meng - also expressed his desire to file a legal suit against the police for the injuries he sustained on May 27.

Chan said his anger over the police' refusal to even admit any wrongdoing on their part was a major reason behind this.

"Look at how they (the police) have dealt with us. All this time, they have told us nothing. They never called us to discuss the issue, to settle it, or to say sorry. If that had happened, perhaps it would be different. But they have done nothing.

"I want to speak to my lawyer first, but if it were up to me, I want to go ahead. Once he advises me to do so, I want to file this suit," he added.

The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) inquiry panel today announced its finding that the police used excessive force during the BMC fracas on May 27 last year.

The panel held the unanimous opinion that there was excessive use of force by the police and the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel on Chang and Chan.

Chang had claimed that the FRU and police had stopped his car and assaulted him and his three passengers when they unwittingly arrived at the scene of a protest by BMC residents.

However the panel said that it was unable to identify the individual police and FRU personnel responsible for the violation - due to the "contradicting and unclear evidence" obtained from witnesses.

Fear still lingers

Even though he expressed his gratitude over the report indicating that the police had used excessive force, the victims could still feel the shivers from that ‘fateful’ night.

According to Chan, he still could recognise “the officers who beat me”.

However, the 32-year-old mechanic never came forward and identified the individuals involved as he did “not want to get into any more trouble”.

“I was scared...I was scared of identifying them when I was called by Suhakam for an identification parade. There were 70 to 80 of them and I was scared of accidentally picking out the wrong ones.

“I know and I recognise them but I just did not want to get into any more trouble...let the court handle this matter,” he said, adding that the police officers involved were not wearing uniforms at that time.

Meanwhile, for Chang, he has been having sleepless nights since the incident eight months ago and the injuries he suffered had also contributed to his constant fatigue at work.

“I could not stay too long under the sun, otherwise I would collapse but it is hard to avoid it because I work as mechanic.

“And I have been having trouble sleeping since the incident as I could easily wake up at even 3am,” he said.

Happy with findings

The duo, together with two other passengers in the car Cheok Kem Hoo, 22, and Chang’s sister Chang Jiun Mein, 21, have been charged with reckless driving and the case is ongoing in Putrajaya Sessions Court.

“But the trial has been adjourned until after the Chinese New Year and so far only two witnesses from the police force had been called,” revealed Chang.

The two mechanics nevertheless were happy with the findings and thanked Suhakam for revealing the report in order for them to get further action.

Meanwhile, Bar Council's Human Rights Committee chairperson Edmund Bon said he hoped the report “would not be left on the shelves”.

“The report should be debated in Parliament as this is something we would want to discuss about...and I support Suhakam for coming up with the findings,” he said after the report was released.

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