First, there was the famous black-eye shown around the world, courtesy
of CNN. Then the denials, then the rumours- who dun'it?
BN government did the unexpected, it appointed a Royal Commission to inquire
into the -truth, a sort of S.African 'truth and reconciliation' Commission
a la Malaysia as it turned out.
The culprit- confessed, it was none other than the Chief of the National police-
The announcement of the Royal Commission was originally greeted by the
usual host of skeptics. Some oppositionists pointed out the bias of the
members, especially Abu Talib, a former AG, who had not come out of the
Vijendren Affair unscared. Then they objected to the connections of Dr.
Yeoh. There was talk of a cover-up.
But, credit must be given where it is due! For once a Commission delivered.
The Police inquiries had come up with a big fat zero. How could it investigate
its highest? Or rather, why couldn't it investigate its highest? This remains
a persistently disturbing fact. There had been rumours enough
of the guilt of the IGP, even the cynics could not believe, but this time
the rumours proved to be founded.
It is gainsay that the Royal Commission is riding high in public esteem,
but what is this Royal Commission all about? About that a detainee
under police custody as famous, as powerful and prominent as a former
DPM could be assaulted? We already know that!
If the Anwar Affair is to have any meaning, if that black-eye that resounded
around the world is not to rank with a third rate boxer biting off his
opponent's ear, it must be vindicated by amendments to the very law that
will ensure that this is never repeated again, to any former DPM or even
a lowly office-boy.
Therefore it is incumbent on the Royal Commission to recommend to
the Agong and the Government to adopt, and Parliament to pass and the Opposition
to unanimously support, an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code to
entrench the now universal right of any suspect to have a lawyer present
immediately upon being arrested or detained by the police for questioning
on whatever ground or offence or investigations in any capacity, be it under
the Penal Code, or ISA or any law.
If we fail to move on that, then we have failed the nation, and the
Anwar incident will be just one more incident in the catalogue of abuses
in the annuls of the police and we will have officially swept everything
under the proverbial carpet, albeit a Royal one.
Anyway, looking on the bright side, Malaysia should be ensured of an Olympic
gold in the 1st Olympic Games of the new Millenium in Sydney or the 2nd in Peking, if our
former IGP continues with his training, but with a more traditional punching
bag-ofcourse, in the category of heavy-weight boxing!