What is appropriate?

(The brave lawyers who were arrested for doing their job – image source: http://www.malaysianbar.org.my)

Sometimes it is just too obvious that some politicians do not know what they are talking about. When this happens, they end up looking like an idiot in the middle of a busy road.

First read this statement from DPM:-

He said for instance, the call by the Council for the Human Rights Commission to conduct a public inquiry into the arrest of five Legal Aid Centre lawyers at a police station recently seemed inappropriate.

(From theStar)

Next watch the actual arrest, captured by Malaysiakini reporter:-

The interesting stuff starts 6 minutes onwards – when the police start to treat the lawyers like some hardcore criminals at the gates and promptly arrests them. If Bar Council’s actions are deemed as inappropriate, then what would the DPM call of the OCPD acting like a mad person? Very appropriate?

The DPM seems to be talking a lot without getting his facts right. Either that or he simply chooses to act like a dungu and disregard the obvious facts. He must ask the question why the Bar Council is calling for public inquiry. Did the DPM read and understood why the resolution passed by the Bar Council in the recent EGM?

The Bar Council president rightfully said:-

“The police are also not above the law. We have the Federal Constitution. We expect respect for the Rule of Law”

Let’s go back to the night when 14 people were arrested for allegedly participating in an “illegal” assembly. And about two hours later, six others were also taken in, including lawyers who had come to assist those arrested earlier.

We all know how the police have reacted to peaceful gatherings lately – it has nothing but intimidations and quick arrests. Of course all this is done in the name of illegal gathering and national security. But the police under the order of the Brickfield’s OCPD went beyond their call of duty when they also arrested the lawyers who had turned up to meet those who been arrested earlier and provide legal service. Why the OCPD treat these lawyers as cardinal threats and arrested them?

Was there a really threat to national security and danger to public at large? This is what the Bar Council doesn’t understand and called for actions against the police.

If the OCPD had been acting the same against say, a group of Mat Rempits who been terrorising the community, then it would have more appropriate. We would have in fact applauded OCPD’s attitude. But that did not happen here.

The OCPD being a PUBLIC SERVANT, paid using PUBLIC’s money is acting against unharmed, peaceful Malaysians who are armed with nothing but candle lights and posters.

Once one is arrested, the person has the right for legal counsel and in the case of Brickfield’s OCPD, legal counsel was not only denied but those wanting to provide legal counsel were also arrested without good reason. It is a clear case violation of the rights granted to the person under the police custody. What next, arrest of paramedics when they came to the gates to help the person in custody that need urgent medical care?

A reader in Malaysiakini put things in perspective:-

When I saw the video of the attitude of the Brickfields police chief speaking through a loudspeaker and threatening the public over a peaceful gathering, it reminded me of the movie ‘The Killing Fields’.

In reality, truth is not far from this. When candle lights and peaceful gathering is perceived to be more dangerous than guns and criminals, then it is “inappropriate” to label the Bar Council’s calls as impropriate. If no one is going to take the case against the police’s arrests of lawyers, then it is not long before we will have our own version of killing fields where basic rule of law is denied and those carrying out their duties arrested without valid reason.

Therefore, it is indeed appropriate for the Bar Council to call for the OCPD to be sacked. DPM should not sweep things under the carpet and call others as impropriate.

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