Something wrong about Syed Hamid

(Malaysiakini) – Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, who has been drawing much flak in the wake of the Kugan Ananthan case, came under fire again today for his '


heroes and demons' remark.

Seeing red over this, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang today concluded that Syed Hamid lacked the requisite mindset to initiate reforms in the police force.

syed hamid home affair ministry event 180908 01Yesterday, the minister called on the people not to regard criminals as heroes, and the police who enforce the law, as demons.

"Malaysians, like people all over the world, do not regard criminals as heroes and the police as demons," said Lim in a statement.

"But when a minister responsible for the police makes a shocking statement of this nature, it reflects that something has gone very wrong both with the police force and the home minister with regard to the most basic of government duties – to keep the people safe and to uphold law and order," he added.

kugan ananthan funeral 230109The veteran politician also reminded Syed Hamid that as a lawyer and home minister, the latter cannot presume that Kugan is a criminal as it must be left to the courts to decide if the 22-year-old youth was guilty of the crimes alleged against him.

"Even if Kugan was guilty of the crimes alleged, the police cannot take the law into its own hands and continue to pile up the shocking statistics of deaths in police custody," he said.

Kugan, who was arrested on Jan 15 in connection with several luxury car theft cases, died five days later at the Taipan police station in Subang Jaya.

A video footage later revealed severe lacerations on the deceased’s body, prompting the attorney-general to re-classify the case as murder from the original sudden death.

Form royal commission, IPCMC

Meanwhile, Lim also called for the forming of a royal commission of inquiry regarding this case and for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct (IPCMC) Bill to be presented to Parliament next month.

Failing which, he said, the entire cabinet should resign.

parliament pandikar amin anwar ibrahim lim kit siang dap pkr pc 121108 04According to the Ipoh Timor MP, Kugan would not have died in police custody if the IPCMC had been operational since May 2006.
"If the IPCMC had been set up in accordance with the timeline as proposed, a new mindset and culture of responsibility, accountability and professionalism would have been disseminated and developed  in the police force in the past 30 months and saved the life of Kugan.

"As it is, even the home minister does not have this requisite mindset that he could come out with his latest howler, when he said that 'the people should not regard criminals as heroes and the police who enforce the law as demons'," he added.

Lim said although the attorney-general reclassified Kugan's death as murder, sent back police investigations and ordered a more thorough probe, as well as demanding to see the second post-mortem report, the police conduct and the home minister's attitude had gravely undermined public confidence in the independence and professionalism of police investigations.

"There can be no alternative to a royal commission of inquiry into Kugan's death, as well as the police and the home minister's responses to the events after Kugan's death," he added.

Lim said this case also marked the "abysmal and final failure" of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's reform programme, "standing out as a tragic symbol of the pathetic end of his pledge for police reforms in particular and his reform agenda for the larger picture."
"Let Kugan not die in vain. It is time that the entire cabinet take a stand on a matter of principle and to resign en bloc if it cannot agree to set up a royal commission of inquiry to present an IPCMC Bill to Parliament for passage next month," he added.

Gobind: Minister incompetent

Meanwhile Lim's party colleague Gobind Singh Deo also criticised Syed Hamid, accusing the minister of not understanding the issue surrounding Kugan's death.

"All persons whether criminal or not cannot be subject to police brutality and torture whilst in police custody.

"There is no justification for killing a suspect during investigations. That is murder," said the Puchong member of parliament in a statement today.

He added that there was no demonising of the police in the Kugan matter, adding that the police had acted beyond the law by subjecting the deceased to torture.

"It is also disheartening to hear the minister saying the public does not care when a policeman dies. This is certainly not true. There is no discrimination in cases like this," he added.

He said that the issue was not on who was the victim but more on the aggressors who were the police who had abused a person under detention, and subsequently causing the death of that person.

"The fact that Syed Hamid has failed to understand this mounts the question as to whether or not he is competent enough to lead the (home) ministry."