Police and your basic rights

By Sim Kwang Yang

PDRM arrest

When you are stopped by a policeman by the roadside, or called in for questioning, or arrested for some alleged crimes, do you know all the basic rights?  Or are you so scared you just let him do what he wants to do with you?

Remember that time when Wong Chine Fatt was detained at the brickfields police station for wearing black T shirt or some silly charge like that?  About 20 people went to the police station and held a candle light vigil to give him moral support outside the fencing.

The policemen in the station got excited and rushed out to arrest them.  Five lawyers went to the police station to offer their legal council and they too were arrested.

My friend Mr. LTC was among those arrested.  Later he told me what happened inside the police station.

“We were gathered outside in the yard, and tables were set up for our interrogation.  I was interviewed by a young officer who looked like a Chinese but spoke very good Bahasa Malaysia.  He was very polite to me throughout the interview, probably because I too spoke good BM.

“After my preliminary details were taken, his first question was to ask me who my father was.  I was baffled.  I told him my father tidak kena-mengena (is not relevant) to my presence there, and I refused to answer his question.

“Then he asked me what my profession was, and I told him I was jobless. (Mr. LTC is a successful businessman.)

“Then he asked me why I was lighting candles there, and so I told him I wanted to express solidarity with Wong Chin Fatt.

PDRM arrest 2

“I was mot the slightest intimidated by him, because I had done no wrong.  After a short while, this policeman handed me a statement for me to sign.  I read through the form and discovered a paragraph that says that I did not have to answer his questions.  I scolded him for not cautioning me, and asked him what would happen if I do not sign the statement.  He said nothing, and so I did not sign.  After a couple of hours, we were all released.”

Even if Mr. LTC does not know all the laws, he is educated enough to do all the right things.