Police official rapped over 'inhumane' tweets

KUCHING, Malaysia - Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin yesterday lambasted a Penang assemblyman for his insensitive tweets involving the police.

Calling the tweets "stupid" and "inhumane", he said it was unbecoming of an elected representative to say such things.

"PKR's (Seberang Jaya assemblyman Dr Afif Bahardin) should not say such things. We policemen work on the frontlines and face (danger) every day."

Bakri said Afif's statements, being that of an elected representative, could lead to the public not recognising the important role policemen have in society.

On Tuesday, 53-year-old Corporal Raja Aizam Raja Mohd was killed by five Indonesian men armed with knives in an attack in Lorong Yusuf Shahbudin 44D, Taman Sentosa, Klang. His partner, Corporal Mohd Aidil Mustafa, 29, was wounded but managed to shoot dead two of the attackers.

Afif had later tweeted: "Penjenayah bunuh polis itu tidak menghairankan, tetapi bila polis yang sepatutnya menegakkan undang-undang membunuh tahanan, itu masalah (Criminals killing a policeman is not surprising, but when the police who are supposed to uphold the law kill a detainee, that's a problem)."

This was followed by several other tweets commenting on the integrity, duties and responsibilities of the police force.

Speaking after launching the new Tabuan Jaya police station yesterday, Bakri said Afif should remember he was elected to his position by voters and that policemen were voters, too.

In Kuala Lumpur, Multimedia and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said action could be taken against Afif.

He said police and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) could act against Afif, as with anyone who makes insensitive remarks on social networking sites.

Afif, in a statement, posted on his Facebook page yesterday, denied being insensitive in his tweets. In extending his condolences to the deceased's family, he said Raja Aizam's willingness to sacrifice for the people's safety must be held exemplary for police nationwide.

Afif said his tweets had been "spun" to portray him as "an enemy of the police" and one who did not respect the sensitivity of the victim's family.

He said as an assemblyman and state executive council member, it was his responsibility to work with the police for the wellbeing of the people of Seberang Jaya and Penang.

Afif said he would not insult the role of the police and other authorities who had always worked with him for the safety of the people.

"My tweet clearly did not make any reference to anyone, even to the deceased who was killed while struggling to defend the country. However, I will not budge from my stand that the Home Ministry must give due attention to the cases of death in custody."

In Bukit Mertajam, a non-governmental organisation lodged a police report against Afif yesterday for insulting and belittling the police with his tweet.

Sensible and Ethical Malaysians United Troopers (Semut) chairman Datuk Huan Cheng Guan said besides being ungrateful, Afif was trying to gain political mileage, adding he should be more sensitive to matters related to death, religion and race, and not exploit them for personal gain.