- FLOOD : Kuantan town centre almost paralysed, 37,100 evacuated in 4 states
- Man catches unique fish with horns
- Man sorry for assault on wife
- 'He's alive!' Video emerges of ship's cook thought lost at sea
- Spain surgeons cut giant 25kg tumour from woman's womb
- Soi Lek confirms he will step down as president
- FLOOD : Pahang in a quandary
- FLOOD : Man and son drown in Kuantan
- MAS chiefs 'not doing more'
- FLOOD : Kemaman residents say this is the worst
- Universal shuts down 'Fast & Furious 7' production
- Suspect's parents say he is innocent
- Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson admits cocaine use
- Woman killed in crash
- Truck with radioactive load stolen in Mexico More
PUTRAJAYA: An independent panel will be set up to investigate allegations of police brutality against journalists and protesters in Saturday’s Bersih 3.0 rally in Kuala Lumpur.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the decision was made at a postcabinet meeting yesterday as the government wanted transparency and justice.
“We have no objections to forming an independent panel to verify whatever findings the police have, even if they go against their own personnel.
“We will do it. We want transparency, we want justice and everything will be done in accordance with the rule of law.” Present was Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar.
Hishammuddin urged the Bar Council and the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), who had evidence for and against the police, to come forward.
“We want to get to the bottom of this. We have got nothing to hide.” The call for an independent panel was made earlier this week by the National Union of Journalists, which claimed it was improper for police to investigate their own personnel.
This came about after several newsmen were allegedly assaulted by police, who had tried to disperse the crowd that had defied a court order and broken through a barricades leading to Dataran Merdeka during the rally.
NUJ claimed police assaulted local and foreign journalists.
Hishammuddin said Ismail had no problem with the setting up of the panel.
"We have yet to come up with names of the panel members. Some names were given to us but we have not decided yet.
"I am sorry some of the journalists (were injured). We will get to the bottom of this."
He said the cabinet had instructed the police and the Attorney-General's Chambers to immediately conduct the investigation and prosecution.
"The government assures that stern action will be taken against those who broke the law, and those who planned and wreaked havoc in Kuala Lumpur.
"The cabinet guaranteed that national security and safety of the people overruled the political interest of any individual or group, be it from the government or opposition."
He added that most people who valued peace would support the government after knowing the truth about the rally.
He said the cabinet fully supported the police and City Hall, who carried out their duties professionally when the gathering turned into a riot that caused injuries to policemen and damage to public properties.
On the investigations, he said several protesters had been arrested while others had been identified through photographs.
He said 14,000 policemen were deployed that day and only a handful were allegedly involved in wrongdoings.
He said they would post videos and photos taken during the rally soon and let the public decide whether the police were restrained and measured in their approach.
At a meeting earlier with senior newsmen at Bukit Aman, Ismail expressed concerns about the allegations of police brutality against members of the media.
He said he had instructed Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Bakri Zinin to conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations and to determine what had transpired.
"There is a criminal justice system in Malaysia and it is effective. Some policemen who had overstepped their boundaries were sentenced to prison, while others were sentenced to death.
"I want justice for all parties concerned, including members of the media and policemen who were injured. Do not draw conclusions. Let us carry out our work."
Ismail said he did not believe in double standards but stressed there were rules and regulations to adhere to and procedures to follow.
"Just because there are hooligans in the police force does not mean that the entire organisation comprises of thugs. We have done everything according to the book."
He said Federal Reserve Unit personnel sprayed water cannon only after the protesters had broken through the barricades leading to Dataran Merdeka.