I’m appalled by appointment of Khalid Abu Bakar as Deputy Inspector-General of police. This paves the way for his eventual appointment as IGP. Some of the worst instances of abuse of power by police took place under Khalid when he was Chief Police Officer of Selangor. This includes the notorious police torture-murder of A Kugan in January 2009 and the fatal police shooting of 14-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah. Police attempted to cover-up both cases.

Despite bearing ultimate responsibility, Khalid has never apologised or accepted any blame for these two murders. To make things worse, in the case of A Kugan, Khalid initially gave the ridiculous explanation that Kugan drank a glass of water and then collapsed and died. This despite the horrendous injuries on his tortured body.

In Aminulrasyid’s case, Khalid suggested that the 14-year-old boy was a criminal and that he had tried reverse the car into the policemen. This false allegation merely increased the sorrow and suffering of Aminulrasyid’s family.

Public confidence in the Royal Malaysian Police remains extremely low in the wake of incidents such as these, compounded by the unlawful and unjust use of  police powers against the political opposition and civil society.

The police force and its leadership must be comprehensively reformed. Police recruitment and training methods must be reviewed. The IPCMC must be set up to curb abuse of police powers.

In this regard, the appointment of Khalid Abu Bakar is a retrograde step, does not inspire confidence and will not put the police force on the path to real reform. In making such key appointments, the government must unfailingly take into account public interest.

This they have once again failed to do.

From N Surendran, via e-mail
The writer is a prominent human rights lawyer and vice president of Keadilan