KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — The police have shot dead a total of 92 suspected criminals in under three years during the course of their duty, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed today.
The minister reasoned, however, that local crime-fighters do not fire shots without good reason, and are always working towards cutting down the country’s crime rate, especially murder cases.
“The police always conduct operations to detect criminals that are dangerous and act cruelly towards their victims,” Zahid said in a written parliamentary reply today to Sim Tong Him (DAP-Kota Melaka).
In the breakdown of detailed statistics provided in the reply, it was shown that of the 92 killed between 2011 and August this year, the police shot dead 18 suspects this year alone, all of them Malaysian males.
In 2011, 30 men were shot dead with 12 of them being Malaysians.
In 2012, 26 out of the 44 men shot dead by the police were Malaysians, the statistics said.
Police shootings have in the past fueled the public’s demand for the setting up of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).
In his reply today, Zahid said that each case of police shooting is probed carefully and stern action would be taken on police officers that had opened fire negligently.
All incidents of shootings by PDRM personnel will be investigated in detail and if there is negligence or misconduct (by) police personnel, PDRM will not hesitate to take stern action against any officers or personnel including charging them in court,” Zahid said, referring to the police force by its Malay initials.
He added that two police officers have so far been charged in court for using firearms negligently.
Zahid said the police are are constantly reminded of their limitations in using firearms, with these constraints on their powers contained in the Inspector-General of Police’s Order (IG’s Order) No 79 and the (IGSO) D222.
But in gunfights or attacks by criminals, the police also have a right to self-defence as contained under Section 100 and Section 103 of the Penal Code, Zahid noted.
“Sometimes there are reaction from criminals, where the clash leads to a shootout or where police personnel are attacked with dangerous weapons, forcing the police to act in self-defence,” he said.
In a controversial shooting late last month, Penang police shot dead five gang members in a bid to crack down on crime.
The grieving families of the dead men, who were suspected to be hired murderers, reportedly sought for an inquest.
But Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi had then said the police had followed the standard operating procedures (SOP) during the raid, explaining that police officers had first declared their identity before entering the Sungai Nibong apartment where the gang members opened fire on them.
A few fatal shootings by the police had previously grabbed national attention, namely that of Aminulrasyid Amzah, 14, in Shah Alam in 2010; youths Muhammad Hanafi Omar, Muhammad Shamil Hafiz Shapiei and Hairul Nizam Tuah in Shah Alam in 2010; and D. Dinesh, 26 in Ampang in August 2012.