|Suhakam must initiate panel: Bar|
|Friday, 04 May 2012 09:29am|
©The Sun Daily (Used by permission)
by PAULINE WONG
PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) must take the first step in establishing an independent panel to probe the allegations of police brutality during Saturday’s Bersih 3.0 rally.
Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee told theSun that in the absence of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), Suhakam is the next best body to undertake the responsibility of an unbiased and thorough investigation.
Lim said Suhakam’s functions as set out under Section 4 (1) of Human Rights Commission Act include:
He was responding to the cabinet’s nod to the formation of an independent panel to verify the findings of police investigations.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had on Wednesday said the cabinet has no objections to the setting up of such a panel, as the government’s priority is to be transparent and conduct a fair investigation.
However, Lim urged the government to demonstrate its commitment by acting upon and following up timeously, all findings and recommendations made by an independent panel.
“The public were disappointed in the past with the government’s undue delays to follow up with and reluctance to implement the findings of past royal commissions, notably the establishment of the IPCMC.”
Lim pledged the Bar’s support to any Suhakam inquiry into Bersih 3.0, which he said should be comprehensive – including inquiry on evidence and examination of witnesses.
Non-governmental organisation Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) also called for Suhakam to initiate the independent panel.
Its executive director E. Nalini told theSun that while it will assist in all inquiries, Suaram would not be the right organisation to set up or be part of the panel as it is also part of the Bersih coalition.
“However, we urge for an unbiased report on the events during the rally,” she said.
Meanwhile, Suhakam in a statement yesterday called on the public, media and relevant authorities to assist in its own gathering of evidence on the events of the rally.
“Those who had witnessed any act or incident relating to the allegations of human rights infringements during the rally, do submit the relevant information, other documents and evidence to the commission as soon as possible.
“In the interim, Suhakam will discuss this matter, analyse the evidence gathered and study the reports of its monitoring team in considering its next course of action,” its chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said.
He said Suhakam is deeply disappointed over various allegations of the heavy-handed and arbitrary manner with which the police dispersed the public, and appalled by the alleged harassment of media personnel covering the rally.
“We also note with great concern instances of unruly and disorderly conduct and behaviour on the part of some of the rally participants.
“Nevertheless, the use of disproportionate and unwarranted force against them and the media is unacceptable of the police, whose duty is to maintain public security in a professional manner, more so when handling and facilitating public assemblies,” he said.
However, Hasmy was unavailable for comment on whether Suhakam will lead the way in initiating the independent panel.
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