By LIM SUE GOAN
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily
The police will show the video footage captured during the Bersih 3.0 rally. However, could the footage reflect the whole truth?
There are many video clips spread across the Internet showing police' aggression against rally participants. The brutality was shocking. In addition, non-governmental organisations, political party members and rally participants also captured similar footage.
Who had instructed the rally participants to remove the roadblocks and make their way to the Dataran Merdeka? Who had instructed the police to fire tear gas and water cannons? How did the conflict take place? How were the police officers attacked? Why did police officers use violence against civilians? Why did those who were arrested being roughed up? Why didn't those who had injured being sent to the hospital immediately? To answer these questions, we must collect all the evidence and piece the eyewitnesses' testimonies and fragmented video clips together to get the truth.
The authority said that police officers were also the victims while civilians being roughed up claimed that they were the victims instead. Many people believe the latter as they have many witnesses. Also, the narration of the members of the media who were roughed treated is also unfavourable to the police.
The police's excessive use of force is a stain for the Bersih 3.0 rally. It also brings a political impact. Not only the police's image has once gain being damaged since the Bersih 2.0 rally last year, the government's prestige has also been affected this time.
To avoid a repetition of the public relations disaster of the Bersih 2.0 rally after tear gas and water cannons were fired into a hospital, the police should not completely deny the acts of violence. Instead, it should admit the mistake and make an open apology.
It lacks transparency as senior police officers had avoided the media before the Bersih 3.0 rally and did not immediately explain to the public after the rally.
The government must also set up an independent committee to investigate the incident, instead of letting the police investigate it. Rally participants and police officers who are found to have violated laws must be charged in court.
Those who attacked police officers must be sanctioned by law while police officers who attacked civilians must also be severely punished, particularly the police has the responsibility to protect the public. Defying human rights and using violence against civilians will shake the public's confidence in the police force.
How are the law enforcement agencies going to enforce the law if they do not respect human rights? A society that does not respect human rights will never become even a civilised society, not to mention an advanced country.
How sad it is as the law enforcement agencies have not yet learned to respect human rights, even 55 years after the country was declared independent.
In other countries practising the rule of law, who dares to casually use violence, let alone police officers? In Malaysia, however, there are limited channels to complain of the police's abuse of power. There is no way to restrict the power of the police force after the proposal of setting up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) was rejected.
It was reported that a few police officers started to hit people after they heard that a colleague had been killed by rally participants. If it is true, it shows that something is wrong with the police's professionalism and discipline. Police officers must learn how to control their emotions. Use lynching to revenge is childish.
The police force has been spending a lot of resources to improve its image and get close to the people, including launching the High Profile Policing programme. However, the efforts have been wasted after the Bersih 3.0 rally.
It is a wake up call for the police force. It will continue to make mistakes if it does not accept supervision and checks and balances. Also, the gap between the police and the people will be widened.