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Thread: BERSIH 3.0: Independent Panel

  1. #1
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    Oct 2008

    BERSIH 3.0: Independent Panel

    Help Bersih panel paint true picture, Hishammuddin urges

    May 11, 2012

    Hishammuddin said the panel’s composition illustrated the government’s desire to discover the truth of the events from Bersih 3.0. — File pic

    KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — The Home Ministry wants all concerns, complaints and necessary evidence on the April 28 rally to be directed to the independent advisory panel to enable it to come up with a conclusive picture of what occurred before, during and after the gathering.Its minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, said the recommendations on the rally made by the six-man panel headed by former inspector-general of police Tun Hanif Omar would be a collective decision of the panel, and not based on the individual itself.

    “I hope the panel members would be accorded all necessary support and encouragement to carry out their duties, which is to paint a true picture of the rally riots, without any undue pressure and distraction,” he said in a statement here today.

    The government on Wednesday announced the appointment of panel members to gather actual details on the riots in Kuala Lumpur, following the rally.

    The other members of the panel are former chief justice of Borneo Tan Sri Steve Sim, Kumpulan Akhbar Sinar Harian managing director Datuk Husammuddin Yaacub, Sin Chiew Group legal advisor Liew Peng Chuan, Petronas Corporate Affairs senior general manager Datuk Medan Abdullah and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia psychologist Prof Dr Ruszmi Ismail.

    Hishammuddin said the inclusion of two serving members of the media, a corporate figure, a psychologist, a retired judge and a former inspector-general of police in the panel was a clear manifestation of the government’s commitment to unveil the truth.

    “We welcome the information and feedback brought by several parties, including from the National Union of Journalists (on the panel).

    “I wish to state that the panel is made up of six distinguished individuals, including the chairman. It is impossible to satisfy the wants of each and every party, especially that of politicians and those with vested interests,” he said.

    Hishammuddin noted that the criticisms against the royal commissions of inquiry on the death of Teoh Beng Hock and VK Lingam judge-fixing video were clear examples of how even the distinguished members of the society were not spared when it involved highly politicised issues. — Bernama

  2. #2
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    Oct 2008

    Bar Council says Putrajaya’s panel lacks basis, wants Hanif disqualified

    By Clara Chooi

    May 11, 2012

    People attend a Suhakam inquiry on the July 11, 2011 Bersih 2.0 rally. The Bar Council today insisted the rights commission should be the authority to probe the April 28 protest. — File pic

    KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — Putrajaya’s independent panel for Bersih 3.0 has no legal standing, the Bar Council said today, adding that Tun Hanif Omar’s anti-Bersih stand should disqualify him from leading the probe.Council president Lim Chee Wee said that in Hanif’s two reported remarks on Bersih 3.0, the former police chief had clearly shown his opposition to the April 28 rally by calling its participants communist sympathisers and agreeing with claims that it was held to overthrow the present government.

    “Under these circumstances, given his views, I do not think it would be suitable for him to be a member of the panel. It would certainly disqualify him,” Lim told a press conference after the Bar’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) this evening.

    He added that the six-member panel, recently formed by the government to probe allegations of violence during Bersih 3.0, lacks the legal framework ordinarily available to bodies such as the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam ) and that this would nullify the legitimacy of any of its findings.

    “It does not have legal immunity for itself or for witnesses participating in the proceedings.

    “By immunity, I mean immunity against defamation and against self-incrimination,” he explained.

    Further to this, Lim asserted that the panel also lacks the legal power to subpoena witnesses and to requisition documents during its inquiry.

    “Under these constraints, the panel would be of limited utility,” he said.

    Lim added that the Bar Council does not intend to participate in the panel’s probe, pointing out that such inquiries should be conducted by Suhakam instead.

    “It would lend greater weight if they invited one of the United Nation’s Special Rapporteurs for assembly (as a panel member),” he added.

    Earlier today, Bersih similarly dismissed the panel, saying the team led by Hanif would be biased and “nothing more than a glorified task force.”

    Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had pledged last week that “credible, experienced and respectable” individuals would investigate the violence during Bersih’s third rally for free and fair elections that descended into chaos after police clashed with protestors.

    But Bersih pointed out in a press statement today that “no indication has been given by the government as to what law will regulate the establishment and functioning of this panel.”
    Najib’s choice of the former Inspector-General of Police to head the panel came under immediate fire from the opposition and calls are growing for Hanif, who led the police for two decades since 1974, to recuse himself.

    Chaos reigned on the streets of Kuala Lumpur for over four hours after 3pm on April 28 when police fired tear gas and water cannons and chased protesters down the streets to disperse what had initially been a peaceful protest calling for free and fair elections.

    The Malaysian Bar had this evening approved a resolution condemning the police for using “excessive” and “indiscriminate” force to disperse Bersih 3.0 protesters on April 28, despite objections raised by a minority group of lawyers during today’s EGM.

    The resolution, passed by way of voting this evening, also demands apologies from the home minister and the IGP to the public and members of the media over the conduct of the police during the rally.


  3. #3
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    Oct 2008
    When oppressive regimes wage psychological warfare against the people, you don't waste time playing games with them. It is only designed to play for time and wear you out.

    Bersih panel: Shim placed in awkward position

    One of the members of the independent panel probing Bersih 3.0 chaos is Steve Shim Lip Kiong, former chief judge of Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak).

    The panel's final report, which Shim will jointly put up with the other members, will eventually end up in the hands of attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail for some form of decision.

    This puts Shim (left) in an awkward position, since he had made a decision touching on Gani's conduct in the matter of Zainur Zakaria vs PP [2001] 3 CLJ. as follows:

    "In the circumstances, was he (referring to Anwar Ibrahim) not justified, on a prima facie basis, in complaining that AG's (Gani Patail) conduct at the meeting on Oct 2, 1998, was an attempt to get Nalla to fabricate evidence in order to perfect charges against him (Anwar) for other alleged sexual offences?"

    Under ordinary circumstances, any other person named to have fabricated or attempted to commit the crime in such a damning decision would have been charged in court. But in the case of Gani, no.
    For the record, Gani was appointed AG after the above decision was made.

    Since the prime minister and Home Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein have already stamped their confidence in the credibility and independence of the newly-appointed panel, headed by Hanif Omar and including Shim, are they not taking Shim's judicial decision, which touched on the conduct of the AG as cited above, as credible as well?

    Is the PM going to say that Shim's decision is unfounded and unsubstantiated or that the former CJ has some agenda of his own?

    Or will the PM and Hishammuddin review Shim's position instead, now that they have discovered the former CJ has made a judicial decision in favour of their staunch opponent, Anwar Ibrahim, which will lend credence to his long-standing allegations that Gani, together with a few other persons, had indeed fabricated evidence and framed false charges against him (Anwar) since 1998.

    Yet another panel?

    The PM should be mindful that besides Shim, another former Federal Court judge, a member of another so-called independent panel tasked to scrutinise a probe by the MACC in 2008, has also found the AG to have been involved in some wrongdoing related to fabricating of evidence during the 1998 black-eye incident, in spite of the investigation being manipulated.

    The question now is whether the PM is going to appoint yet another independent panel to scrutinise the findings of the newly-appointed independent panel headed by Haniff, since the AG himself is incapacitated, at least by the judicial decision of Shim?

    If the PM is still not convinced with the findings of a former Federal Court judge, coupled with the decision cited above made by Shim with regard to the conduct of Gani (right) since 1998, then the PM should state his position clearly and disband the independent panel on Bersih 3.0.

    Otherwise the PM should start taking steps to institute action against the AG, which has been long overdue.
    Nevertheless, in the event the panel is to continue with the inquiry, which I think would be the case, then S Ambiga, the Bersih co-chairperson, must bear the responsibility to appear before the panel to state her version, regardless who leads the panel and however hostile the situation can be.

    Only then can Ambiga claim her right to demand that the PM and Hishammuddin be called before the panel as well to explain the reasons they did not exercise due care when discharging their duties or took steps to prevent the rally from taking place when they had the time, means and power to do so.

    This will be a test of sincerity of purpose on both the PM and Hishammuddin. Both of them are aware, as much as I am, that the root cause of the issue can be traced and is somehow connected to the decision made by Shim as cited above.

    The Bar Council, on the other hand, may have waived its right to participate in the panel on Bersih 3.0 inquiry after having taken the position to boycott the panel.

    Nonetheless, the boycott should not stop the Bar Council from calling another EGM to discuss the "atrocities" of the AG separately instead, based on judicial decisions, findings and evidence recorded by former super senior judges, during RCIs, and in particular the decision made by Shim, which are all at the fingertips of some Bar Council members.

    Root cause of the problems

    If the Bar Council is bold enough to condemn police brutality to the extent of demanding apologies from the home minister and the IGP, then the Bar Council should also have the courage to condemn, in like manner, the "atrocities" of the AG not only towards several individuals but to our legal system as a whole, as well and to demand the PM to henceforth form a tribunal on the AG himself.

    If the president of the Bar Council wants to throw down the gauntlet, then he should pick someone of his size, like the AG, regardless of his standing in the Legal Profession Act itself, and not some lower ranking policemen.
    It cannot be denied that the root cause of the problems we are facing now is Gani.

    In September 1998, it was the police that was challenged by, among others, the Bar Council itself, to investigate their own chief without fear or favour.

    Now, it's the Bar Council's turn to look within its own fold and which the lawyers should have done a long time ago. Still, better late than never.

    When in London a few days ago, the PM was reported to have said: "You must operate within the rules of the law. If you discard the rule of law, there would be anarchy in the country."

    We hope the PM will walk the talk when he returns and not discard the decision by Shim and the findings of the other former Federal Court judges with regard to Gani's conduct.

    The PM has refused to be a witness in the Sodomy II trial and he is unlikely to accept a subpoena from a French court.

    Should he also refuse to appear before the independent panel comprising members handpicked by him, then he should not be talking about subscribing to the Rule of Law.

    MAT ZAIN IBRAHIM is former Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief.


  4. #4
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    Tuesday, 05 June 2012

    SLAP IN THE FACE FOR HANIF: We know you're an Umno soldier, stop embarrassing yourself!

    Written by Stephen Ng

    In his pitch for public acceptance, former Inspector General of Police, Haniff Omar has again failed to understand what every man on the street with a slightly higher IQ seems to understand why both Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee and the Bar Council have unanimously rejected the government’s offer to probe the peaceful rally which took place on April 28.

    As a matter of fact, a wider scope in the terms and reference does not necessarily translate itself to be better than one that is more focused on the core issues, which Suhakam has already adopted. Haniff, therefore, has no reasons to brag about the ten terms of reference that he has been given, when in the first place, the panel set up by the Home Ministry lacks public confidence, and has no legal clout compared to Suhakam.

    It is also telling that 2 members of Hanif's 'independent' advisory panel on the Bersih 3.0 rally have decided to turn down their appointments. Former Borneo chief judge Steve Shim and Petronas corporate affairs senior general manager Medan Abdullah cited health reasons and work commitments respectively as reasons for their refusal.

    Haniff should by now recuse himself after making a statement which is deemed as truly uncalled for. The damage is already done. The bruises are deep, and it will take a long time to heal before the people will forgive him for a label that effectively turned some 250,000 people into coup d’etat traitors with communist inclinations. There is nothing more obnoxious and stupid than a statement of this nature made by former top cops!

    For the sake of sanity, I strongly urge Haniff and the panel to resign en bloc, and allow Suhakam to carry out the independent investigation, instead of continuing to make a fool of themselves now that Haniff knows the stance of both Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee and the Bar Council. Given that the amount of injury inflicted on the rakyat on April 28, I see it has also created a chasm between Najib’s administration and the ordinary man on the street.

    No one to blame but Umno itself

    In the past, no one cared a damn about the number of people at any Umno or BN party function; now, photographs are posted all over on the Internet of Umno’s 66th Anniversary celebration recently, which clearly show to me that even the Malays are abandoning Najib and his tok dalang, Dr Mahathir Mohamad. It is estimated that there were not more than 50,000 people who attended the assembly, which caused the frantic Mahathir to stress that Umno members should not sabotage the party in the coming General Election.

    On the ground, I have also heard grouses from even my Malay friends that they, too, are disillusioned by the aggressive behaviours of the party members against Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim in what is known as “Tibai” and against Bersih’s co-chair, Ambiga Sreenevasan. What some of them also cannot understand is how a trader driving a Lamborghini is still holding a Kuala Lumpur City Hall hawker’s license in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, and his business has flopped even before Bersih 3.0 (with a number of Sekinchan Ikan Bakar franchisees already closed before April 28.)

    What some of my Malay friends are most skeptical is the fact that the mainstream media has become a tool for political propaganda, without taking into consideration the sensitivities of the Malay culture. “What kind of morals are they teaching to our younger generation?” one of them asked, when we were both watching TV3 news during one of the by-elections.

    No one is happy

    No one, including Umno members, is happy with the gutter politics played by Umno and NGOs which are linked to Umno and BN. With Najib as Prime Minister keeping his silence and condoning such political culture is simply not helping to solve the rift between Najib and the people of Malaysia.

    Based on the latest survey by Merdeka Centre, I sense that the people have already lost their confidence in Najib. The Scorpene deal which has also recently emerged, and the French lawyer not being allowed to move freely within the country, clearly speaks volume. The rest is up to the individuals to interpret, since Najib has chosen to make no comments about the Scorpene deal. I suspect a lot of people are waiting for the warrant of arrest to be issued out by the French judge through the Interpol.

    I spoke to some 30 people during Bersih 3.0 as part of my monitoring exercise asking each of them to state why he or she supported Bersih. What is clear to me is that the rakyat want a clean and fair election, but Najib has chosen to listen to the old guards (which I can safely presume includes Dr Mahathir and three former IGPs).

    Najib not only arrested but also INFLICTED INJURY on the people

    On April 28, Najib has taken the stance, not only to arrest, but to inflict injury to the protestors with the objective to demonise Bersih 3.0, before it gets much bigger. This, including a target of 500 arrests, appears to be the standing instruction, if you care to analyse the event carefully and the police had to work beyond 7pm to arrest anyone wearing Bersih t-shirts including those who were having their dinner in restaurants. The government’s response to Bersih 3.0 was more than just ordinary crowd control.

    The use of sophisticated telecommunications jammers during Bersih 3.0 appears to suggest to me that April 28 was the day when the Malaysian government went to war with the people. In a simple crowd control situation, you would not need to jam the communication lines between the ordinary people on the street, unless you had first assumed that Bersih 3.0 was a coup d’etat.

    To say that police brutality was merely a few isolated cases is as good as saying that the kettle is not black. In fact, the men in blue were out there to lash out their anger on the ordinary rakyat. They were out there not only to arrest the demonstrators, but to inflict as much injury as possible. After arresting the demonstrators, they kicked and punched the victims.

    They were also out there thinking that they were the disciplinary masters, punishing the people and making them come to their senses. There were a lot of prejudices that had been instilled into the minds of these boys in blue, for which their superiors have to take full responsibility.

    Haniff shoots himself in the foot

    Till now, the police have not come forward to punish their own men; therefore, the former IGP is only shooting himself on the foot by trying to appear independent in the setting up of the panel of inquiry.

    Unlike his successor, Rahim Noor, who has been found guilty of inflicting injury to former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, Haniff should behave honourably as a former top cop and perhaps confine himself to just one term of reference: probing police brutality in a bid to clean up the force.

    If it is true that the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) will not allow the police to appeal, then Haniff should allow them to appeal against any punishment meted by blaming it on the instructions given by their superiors.

    While Haniff is doing his good job on this, let Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee continue to push for electoral reform and clean up the electoral roll which is fraught with discrepancies. Only with that can he restore public confidence in the police force and salvage his own reputation as a former top cop.

    Stephen Ng reads Malaysia Chronicle

  5. #5
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    Oct 2008
    Can we trust Hanif? — Othman Wahab

    June 05, 2012

    JUNE 5 — Tun Hanif Omar does himself and the government no favours whenever he opens his mouth — he sounds like the government apologist that his critics say he is.

    First things first, the police are main actors and accused in the Bersih 3.0 violence. The allegation against them is damning: they used more than 300 tear gas canisters against Malaysian citizens and used too much force against reporters and bystanders, not to mention a lawyer who was on his way home at 7pm — way after the event on April 28.

    So Hanif should be treating any video or “evidence” from the cops with utmost suspicion akin to a murder suspect furnishing the investigation officer with “evidence” to implicate someone else. Instead we have Hanif — from his words — seemingly fawning over the cops.

    Hanif says that they are even “studying” videos of what opposition people said in the run-up to the event. Tell me, were these spliced videos also provided by Special Branch!

    Hanif has not been an honest broker from Day One. He is a former cop, he served on the police commission for years and maintains close links with Najib Razak, having served as Tun Razak’s aide-de-camp.

    He was also indirectly involved in Sodomy I where prosecutors tried to include some investigation done by him against Anwar Ibrahim. And to top it all, he has already prejudged Bersih 3.0, saying that there were elements of communists, etc.
    Would you trust Dracula to guard the blood bank?

    * Othman Wahab reads The Malaysian Insider.

    * This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider

  6. #6
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    Oct 2008
    Tuesday, 05 June 2012 07:06

    SNUB FOR HANIF: Two opt out of Bersih panel

    PUTRAJAYA - Two members of the independent advisory panel on the Bersih 3.0 rally have turned down their appointments.

    Former Borneo chief judge Tan Sri Steve Shim and Petronas corporate affairs senior general manager Datuk Medan Abdullah cited health reasons and work commitments respectively as reasons for their refusal.

    Panel chairman Tun Hanif Omar said the government will appoint their replacements as soon as possible.
    "We will leave it to the government to decide," he told a press conference here after he and three other panel members attended a meeting where they were briefed by the police on the incidents of the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally.

    Hanif said the police had shown the panel a 40-minute video clip of the events before the rally, the behaviour of the protesters and the damage that ensued.

    "We understand that the police have 43 video clips containing 73 hours of footage of the rally. We will not view all of them but will request for the clips which we feel are necessary," he added.

    He said the clips are mostly of the same events but from different viewpoints.

    Hanif also said the panel is willing to meet the Bar Council and will arrange for a meeting in the near future.

    "While the council does not support my appointment as chairman, it is nevertheless open to meeting. We will listen to its side of the story as well," he said.

    The council has been openly critical of Hanif, as it claims Hanif's criticism of the Bersih 3.0 rally will impair his objectivity in the independent panel.

    The panel was set up by the Home Ministry on May 2, in light of public outcry over allegations of police brutality during the rally.

    The rally, which had been planned as a peaceful sit-down at Dataran Merdeka, turned chaotic when a small group of protesters broke through police barricades and into the iconic square.

    The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) also announced on May 21 that it will be conducting its own inquiry to probe if there were human rights abuses during the rally.

    Hanif said the Suhakam inquiry is not a duplication of the panel's functions.

    "The panel has a 10-point terms of reference and cover a wider scope than the Suhakam inquiry, which focuses on human rights abuses," he said, in dismissing accusations that Suhakam's inquiry undermines the role of the panel.

    Hanif called on the public to come forward with evidence and information on the rally.

    All information and complaints can be directed to its secretariat via phone at 03-88868110 or 03-88868112, fax to 03-88894836 or email to

    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



  7. #7
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    Bersih rally: Cops defied orders?

    K Pragalath
    | July 6, 2012
    Responding to Hanif Omar's statement that there was not supposed to be physical contact with the protesters, Bersih leaders ask if this meant that the police personnel on the ground defied orders.

    PETALING JAYA: Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga felt that the police personnel on duty during the April 28 rally violated their superiors’ orders not to have physical contact with the protesters.

    “If that is true [there was an order not to cause physical harm], then the police clearly breached the order in view of the number of people who got hurt and complained of being manhandled,” she said.

    Ambiga was responding to independent advisory panel chairman Hanif Omar who said that the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) was not equipped with batons on April 28.

    “Normally the first rank would be the baton party but they were not given batons that day. All were instead equipped with tear guns or tear grenades. The order was never to come into physical contact because people could get hurt.

    “That was the first thing they were concerned about, so gas and water were used to disperse the protesters,” he had said.
    The Hanif-led panel was tasked with probing the allegations of excessive force and violence used during the Bersih 3.0 rally.

    Is there a mutiny?

    Ambiga said the violence perpetuated by the police on that day was probably because “they did not bother with the order” or the police had two sets of orders.
    The former Bar Council president also expressed shock that Hanif, who was a former inspector-general of police, claimed that tear grenades and tear gas canisters were less harmful than a baton.
    “There is evidence that tear gas canisters were intentionally shot into the crowd and caused physical damage.
    “The way tear gas canisters were fired into the crowd and at the people showed there was an intention to cause harm,” she said.

    Ambiga further noted that the number of tear gas canisters and tear grenades used against the protesters was also evident of the police wanting to cause physical harm.

    “A total of 967 canisters were fired on that day. In my view, physical damage was intended,” she said based on the revelation by the Home Ministry on the number of tear gas canisters and tear grenades used on April 28 that cost the government RM1.8 million.

    Based on the videos of the rally, Ambiga said it was clear that some police personnel had a different agenda even though there were those who were professional in executing their duties.

    Meanwhile, Bersih steering committee member Wong Chin Huat, who was manhandled and arrested during the rally, drew two conclusions based on Hanif’s statement.

    “If that is the case then there is clearly a defiance of order and possibly a mutiny in the police force.
    “The other possibility is that there was a group of people impersonating the police,” he said, urging Hanif to look into this as well.

    In a related development, social activist Marina Mahathir published a photo of the FRU with batons and shields taken during the rally on her micro blogging site, Twitter (photo, left).

    “They had batons, I saw them,” she told FMT.

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