New IGP: Engage with Civil Societies and be Different from Khalid Abu Bakar

For Immediate Release
6 September 2017

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is appalled by the appointment of the former Inspector-General of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar as Prasarana Malaysia Berhad chairperson and his appointment as the special envoy to enhance relations with the international community in combating terrorism, extremism and human trafficking.

In his term as Inspector-General of Police, Malaysia has witnessed a series of backtrack with regards to human rights. During his tenure, human rights defenders, activists and political opponents of Barisan Nasional were subjected arbitrary detention and arrest with a historic regression where activists and political opponents of the government were detained without trial under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012[1]. The Prevention of Crime Act 1959 was also abused to arrest and detain a known whistleblower on misconduct and corruption within the police ranks[2] .

On top of the abuse of security laws during his tenure, Khalid Abu Bakar himself was known to threaten human rights activists and lawyers on social media. Throughout his tenure, it was common for him to denounce comments made by activists and netizens as seditious[3] and ‘issue’ orders[4] for activists to be investigated on Twitter. He was also known to make unilateral declarations that certain events are illegal with unsubstantiated allegations[5]. In less than 5 years, SUARAM documented more than 200 cases under the Sedition Act 1948 and more than 300 cases under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

True to his track record when he was the Chief of Police for Selangor[6], death in custody continue to plague Malaysia throughout the years under his tenure[7]. The widespread and systematic use of torture and the death of detainees are answered with silence and falsehood by the Royal Malaysian Police. Recommendations by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) was also disregarded by Khalid[8].

Apart from the active human rights violations perpetrated by the Royal Malaysian Police during his tenure, Khalid Abu Bakar has repeatedly failed to answer for the allegations of his family members involvement in the sales of firearms and training center for handling firearms; the failure to locate and return the children of Indira Gandhi despite court orders; the failure to account for the investigation into 1 Malaysian Development Berhad; the failure to address the issue of enforced disappearance; the failure to curb political violence; and failed to improve the Royal Malaysian Police with regards to human rights and rule of law.

Despite the shortcomings, Khalid Abu Bakar is now rewarded with appointment to government linked company and appointed as a special envoy to the government. With his questionable track records and the human rights violations perpetrated under his tenure, his appointments to this portfolio will undoubtedly be perceived as a reward by the government and further damage the Malaysian government’s credibility.

With the shortcoming of the outgoing Inspector-General of Police and the human rights violations perpetrated under his tenure, the new Inspector-General Police must make clear commitments to human rights and democracy and remedy the human rights violations set in place.

SUARAM calls on the newly appointed Inspector-General of Police to have open engagement and roundtables with members of the civil societies on the human rights issues raised and commit to improving the Royal Malaysian of Police’s commitment to human rights.

In Solidarity

Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director

[1] Matthias Chang & Khairuddin Abu Hassan detained in September 2015 and Maria Chin in November 2016

[2] Dato R Sri Sanjeevan was detained under POCA after a series of chain-remands in June 2016





[7] Numbers of death in custody reported: 2013 – 13; 2014 – 14; 2015 – 12; 2016 – 15; 2017 – 8