Monday, October 14, 2013

Indonesians Angered with "Shoot to Kill" Policy

The fatal shooting of four Indonesians by Malaysian police in Perak last Friday had triggered anger from the neighbouring country. 

Yesterday, Indonesian daily Kompas quoted the head of Badan Nasional Penempatan dan Perlindungan Tenaga Kerja Indonesia Moh Jumhur Hidayat as describing the Malaysian police as "cowards" who shoot to kill for the slightest of reasons. 

Jumhur added that the suspected criminals could have been "disabled" (as in shot in the leg) instead of being "shot dead" especially since they were not terrorists.

Anis Hidayah, the director of Indonesian NGO Migrant Care, also slammed the shootout as a violation of human rights and international standards. “[Regardless of] whatever documents they had – or didn’t have – the incident which caused their death was a human rights violation,” Anis was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post

“International standards clearly stipulate that the police are not allowed to shoot anyone dead, not even a criminal,” she said. 

Anis also flayed the Malaysian government for stating that the victims were illegal workers, saying: “[Their status] does not justify the shootings.” 

However, IGP Khalid Abu Bakar countered Indonesian criticisms and saying "This is not a question of being a coward or being brave, it is a standard practice all over the world in the battle against crime". He maintained that Malaysian police is color-blind in discharging its duties and do not target individuals based on race, religion or nationality. 

Often, when Khalid speaks, his words lack clarity. Honestly, I don't know what he is talking about. What did he meant by the statement above? What is the "it" that he is referring to, if I may ask? I shudder to think he may be talking about "shoot to kill"!

It had been widely reported by the Malaysian press that police only fired at the Indonesians because the latter shot at the former. So the police were at the receiving end of unrelenting gunfire from the felons – that was why they were obliged to return fire.

Therefore, it is malicious to suggest that the police were trigger-happy! But I wonder. The police must have been damn good shots because when they opened fire, all the criminals were killed right away. (The devil in me is asking: Maybe, it was convenient this way because then there will be no need for endless rounds of questions later?)

I want to be on the side of the police. And so I am pleading for understanding. Why must we always look at the police with suspicion? After all, those transgressors had guns when they encountered our police. And they seemed eager to have a shootout. 

I mean, what did you expect the police to do? Talk to them politely? That happened in Lahad Datu, remember? And of course, we all know how it ended. Actually, I am alarmed at the thought that firearms are so easily available in this country!?!? A thought crept into my mind. Did you realize that anybody who was shot dead by Malaysian police were found to possess weapons? Perish the thought I didn't mean anything by it. I really did try but the awareness just refused to go away!

Last Saturday, I was the General Evaluator for the Taylor’s University Toastmasters meeting. It was held in an open space on Level 2, Block E above lecture theater LT12 but we had to flee to a dry environment soon after when lashing rains forced us to continue our meeting in LT11 on Level 1. Still, it was a good meeting – the 3 speeches were good and likewise the evaluations. 

My only gripe was that the meeting had “Oktoberfest” as the theme but I must confess to being dismayed, dejected and disappointed. There were no buxom German women nor were there free-flowing beer! What kind of Oktoberfest was that? Anyway, a 6.5 over 10 score.

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