by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, February 23, 1994:
DAP calls on the new IGP, Tan Sri Rahim Noor to maintain strict police neutrality and not to take sides in political disputes among political parties
The DAP calls on the new Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor, to maintain strict police neutrality and not to take sides in political disputes among political parties.
The DAP is gravely concerned for from recent events, the Police seems to be more and more inclined to take sides in political disputes among political parties, when the police should rise above all such involvements.
Should the Police have bean involved in the 36-hour crisis in Sabah over the delay in the swearing-in of Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan as Sabah Chief Minister when the PBS had won the clear majority of 25 seats, although the Barisan Nasional was trying to engineer a majority by buying over a few PBS Assembly¬men to form a Barisan Nasional Sabah State Government?
Nobody would have faulted the Police for its role in maintaining law and order in the 36-hour crisis of democracy in Sabah, for this would be the duty and responsibility of the Police in such circumstances.
However, was it right and proper for the Police to get involved in the 36-hour crisis of democracy, by going to Seri Gaya, the official residence of the Sabah Chief Minister, to question the PBS Klias Assemblyman, Datuk Lajim Haji Okin, just because of a police report by a UMNO supporter Datuk Haji Mohammed Tawfeck Asneh that Lajim had been wrongly detained at Sen Gaya?
If Lajim had answered differently, Joseph Pair in would not have been sworn in as Sabah Chief Minister on Sunday and there would have been a full¬blown political and constitutional crisis in Sabah
Lajim was questioned by the Police on Sunday morning before the swearing-in of Datuk Joseph Pairin as Chief Minister, and he was asked three questions: whether he was at Seri Gaya on his own free will; if he wanted to leave; and whether he wanted to get out of Seri Gaya at that time.
Lajim’s answers to the three questions were “yes” to the first and “no” to the second and third.
If Lajim’s answers had been different, then Joseph Pairin would not have been sworn in on Sunday, and there would have been a full-blown constitutional and political crisis in Sabah today.
The Police should have been aware that at that time, there, were not only allegations that the PBS Assemblymen had been ‘‘locked up’, but also allegations that UMNO Assemblymen had been “locked up’ to prevent defections.
Why didn’t the Police question UMNO Assemblymen whether they had been detained in the house of the UMNO Sabah Chairman, Tan Sri Sankaran Dandai against their will?
Tan Sri Rahim Noor should review the role that should be played by the police, in order to project their political neutrality, unless the new police policy is to take – sides in political disputes among political parties.
The initial police reaction to the Sydney Sunday Telegraph report of January 16 alleging that Malaysian Opposition politicians and MPs had received bribes from Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) agents is a case in point.
It is now obvious that the Barisan Nasional leaders did not take a nationalistic approach but were only interested in ‘playing polities’ with these allegations. At that time, there were daily speeches and statements by Barisan Nasional leaders denouncing the Opposition for disloyalty.
However, when the Canberra Times report on February 3 clarified that it was not Malaysian Opposition politicians and MPs who had received bribes from ASIS_agents, but government and UMNO politicians and MPs who had received ASIS bribes until four years ago, there was sudden total silence from the Barisan Na¬sional leaders who lost all interest in the matter.
The Barisan Nasional leaders have shown themselves to be very irresponsible and unpatriotic in their double standards -adopting the stand that it is a treason if opposition politicians and MPs receive bribes from ASIS agents, but no problem if Bari¬san Nasional politicians and. MPs had received such bribes.
But this should not have been the attitude of the Malaysian Police. After threatening the Opposition MPs with the Internal Security Act, and even claiming that preliminary police investigations showed that there was basis in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph allegations, the Police also maintained total silence after the Canberra Times report pointed out that the ‘traitors’ came from government, and UMNO politicians.
I hope the new IGP can give the nation an assurance that the Royal Malaysian Police under him would, strive to main¬tain the strictest neutrality on political issues, and would not side with the Barisan Nasional against the Opposition to play politics.