COMMENT Swashbuckling Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has delivered a speech so atrociously against common decency and the fundamental tenets of law that it is bound to rock the already scandal ridden Barisan Nasional government.

He advocates shooting of suspected criminals on sight in a speech that is filled with racist slurs that would raise racial animosity, pitting the Malays against Chinese and Indian Malaysians.  Zahid’s recorded speech was uploaded in the Malaysiakini website on Oct 7.

NONEIn a briefing session on security matters for community leaders that turned out be nothing but an Umno party election campaign meeting to introduce candidates at the Malacca International Trade Centre at Ayer Keroh on Oct 5, Zahid disclosed that out of 40,000 gang members identified, 28,000 of them are Indians and he said there is nothing wrong in arresting them. He then asked:

“What is the situation of robbery victims, murder victims during shootings? Most of them are our Malays. Most of them are our race. I think the best way is that we no longer compromise with them. There is no need to give them any warning. If we get the evidence, we shoot first.”

This is a clear endorsement of a “shoot suspects without warning” policy (unless convicted, they are known as suspects) that may well be in existence for some time, and also could well have explained the many suspicious police fatal shootings, in particular, the gunning down of all five suspected Indian gangsters in an apartment in Penang in August.

Shooting to kill suspects without warning is murder under Malaysian laws and a breach of international law under auspices of UN.

Hence, Zahid has to explain why he should not be investigated for complicity in such murder.

Equally disturbing to Zahid’s apparent murderous trait, is his despicable attempt to incite racial animosity to gain populist racist support.

Stirring racist sentiments
In the same speech, Zahid disclosed that of the 14,511 identified as secret society members, there are 6,171 Malays, 1,701 Chinese, 3,685 Indians and 2,954 from other races. He said:

“The 6,171 Malays, they are not real thugs, they were Pekida members and were part of the Tiga Line group,Gang 30, Gang 7 – these are festivities (kenduri-kendara) gangsters… I tell our Tiga Line friends, do what should be done.”

Zahid then went on to refer to Tiga Line on a first person basis, saying:

“We are not evil, I know, I have checked.  We gather during festivals with our siblings, we gather when there are projects, never mind.  I see here, the candidates here, all four of them are Tiga Line.”

These statements contain lies, racial prejudice and admission of criminalities.

In the first place, saying all the 6,171 Malay triad members identified, who are from Tiga Line, Gang 7 and Gang 30 are good people is tantamount to saying that all Malay gangsters are innocent while gangsters of other races are criminals, because Tiga Line, Gang 7 and Gang 30 are the only three Malay-based secret societies in the list of 29 outlawed secret societies in Peninsula released by the Home Ministry on Aug 29.  

Besides this claim being manifestly false, the claim of benevolent activities of these gangs also contradict the Home Ministry statement on Aug 29 that described their activities as drug trafficking, extorting protection money and seizure of cars.

As if such false assertion to play up Malay racial sentiments is not sufficient, Zahid painted the Malaysian crime world as Malays being the victims while Chinese the beneficiaries.  This is again another unfair and false claim. The truth is: triad criminals thrive across racial lines.

Umno's possible involvement in triads
Apart from such vile attempt to instigate racial hatred with lies, Zahid had also incriminated himself and his colleagues with his open admission that he and the four candidates for Umno’s supreme council in the imminent party elections, namely, Shahidan Kassim, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, Shamsul Anuar Nasarah and Nur Jazlan Mohamed, are part of the outlawed Tiga Line group.

Realising that his no-holds-barred speech had revealed devastating and self-incriminating illegalities, Zahid later asked journalists to leave the hall, and ordered them not to publish a word of his speech with threats to shut down their newspapers otherwise.

Since such apparent breach of law has implicated not only Home Minister Zahid and his ministry, but also the police, it is imperative that a high-power and independent body overarching home ministry and police such as a royal commission of inquiry be set up immediately to probe and ascertain the veracity and extent of the following possible breaches with a view to prosecution later:

1. Possible murder and complicity in murder under the “shoot suspect without warning” policy mentioned by Zahid, involving the home minister, home ministry and the police.
2. Breach of the Sedition Act 1948 in Zahid’s vicious endeavour to incite racial hatred and animosity among races with falsehood (referred to in Section 3, Clause 1 (e) of the Act).
3. Possible criminal involvement by Zahid Hamidi, Shahidan Kassim, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, Shamsul Anuar Nasarah and Nur Jazlan Mohamed in the outlawed Tiga Line group.
4. Abuse of power by Zahid in miss-using government resources when he turned a government function completely into an Umno party election campaign.
5. Zahid’s illegal intimidation of journalists not to publish his speech with threats to shut down their newspapers otherwise.

Najib must exert leadership
Zahid’s arrogant trampling of the constitution and law, coming on the heel of the passing of the draconian amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act, which he claimed in his speech to have been single-handedly engineered and rammed through in Parliament, has cast a dark shadow over the future of rule of law in this country.

NONEThis is the time when Najib can no longer remain silent, as he has chosen to be over many swirling controversies in recent days, and must speak to the nation loud and clear where he stands with regards to the errant minister.

Failure to exert leadership over the heretic conduct of minister Zahid, at a time when the country have been drifting in chaotic and pilot-less political leadership for some time, will only plunge the country into a crisis of confidence and cause irreparable damage to Najib’s premiership.

KIM QUEK is a retired accountant and author of the banned book ‘The March to Putrajaya’.

~ Malaysiakini