MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



10 APRIL 2024

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

No law against public recording police raid: Ex-Bar chief


Former Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir and two law experts concurred there is no law forbidding members of the public from recording a police raid in progress.

Salim as well as lawyers Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar and Rajsurian Pillai today were responding to the recent detention of three individuals for filming a police raid of a hardcore music gig at a record store in Georgetown, Penang, on Saturday.

The trio was released an hour after the arrest. A fourth person, who is the co-owner of the store, was held for more than 12 hours for not possessing an entertainment licence.

“There are no provisions criminalising an act of recording police operations during raids. On the contrary, body cameras are acknowledged to promote transparency.

“The government has even approved the usage of these body cameras by enforcement authorities.

“Recording of raids or an arrest without any overt act that invokes violence, should not be construed as an aggressive or menacing action that would give rise to an offence under the penal code,” Salim (above) told Malaysiakini.

The lawyer added that the trio has the option of filing a civil action against the police.

Sharing similar views are veteran legal practitioner Syed Iskandar, who said that there is no such law in Malaysia barring mere recording of police raids by members of the public.

The lawyer opined that the trio detained and later released during the Saturday raid can sue the police in civil court, reminding law enforcement that the days of them doing whatever they like are numbered.

Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar

“In Malaysia, the public usually does not wish to try bring action against the police and prefers to keep quiet over any alleged transgression by the authorities.

“But we need to remember that there has been a recent change of government and the days of the police doing whatever they like are numbered.

“Worldwide in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, there is no law barring the public from filming or photographing police raids,” Syed Iskandar said.

Meanwhile, Rajsurian told Malaysiakini that it is not a crime to take photographs or make a video of an ongoing police raid as long as it does not prevent the legal enforcers from doing their jobs.

He noted that any action that amounted to obstructing a civil servant is an offence under Section 186 of the Penal Code.

Rajsurian noted, however, that the police have a tendency of threatening to use the provision of Section 186 in order to secure cooperation during investigation.

“Keep in mind that there are camera crews of local TV investigative programmes that follow police during raids, hence it clearly shows that recording by itself is not a crime,” the lawyer said.

Following the Saturday raid, Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng revived the call for the police force to be equipped with body cameras.

The DAP leader said body cameras were supposed to have been procured and put into use in 2021, pointing out that this was an important issue that needed to be properly looked into as the new government prioritises reform in the police force.

The police action against the record store caused a stir on social media, with musicians and music lovers from home and abroad weighing in on the matter.

Co-owner of Ruas Store where the gig was held, Shaik Fitri, claimed the police told them that photographing raids was not allowed and asked them to delete the photos. - Mkini

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.