Thursday, January 22, 2015

Don’t fear the police, says Robert Phang

The public should not hesitate to approach the police when assistance is needed, said Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission representative Tan Sri Robert Phang.

"They often have a perception that their reports will be ignored or that they will need to wait for a long time before any action is taken.

"In addition to that, it is a common stereotype that police officers often speak in a rough manner by addressing the public with ' apa kamu mahu? '( what do you want?)" he said.

He added that the training for police officers should henceforth include public relations and human relations.

"The public should be able to feel that the Police department and its officers are there for them, to help them when needed," he said during the Safer Malaysia Conference at the National University of Defence  (UNPM).

Robert added that the Police department is under a lot of strain and stress as the expectations on them varies, but it is important for all issues to be addressed by them.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said the legal department  also often has trouble in receiving cooperation from the public, especially as witnesses.

"First things first, we need to change their mindset and let them know that they are under no risk and will be protected.

Giving the Prevention of Crime Act ( PCA) as an example, he said that the people fear it as they feel it is a varation of the Internal Security Act  ( ISA).

"Unlike ISA, rhe public prosecutor has a say in the PCA and whether or not a person should be arrested under the act. We look into all the related evidence and evaluate it under section 9.3 of the Act to see what can be done next," he added.

Wan said that identified witnesses are often hesitant to come forward in fear of their life and explained that things are handled differently now.

"When the witnesses do not turn up, we put the case on hold and call in the witness on a private basis.
"They will then be placed under the witness protection program and given the opportunity to testify without a counsel present, after explaining why they did not turn up in court to testify," he said adding that lack of cooperation would interrupt the investigation and delay the conclusion.

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