A coalition of NGOs under the banner of Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) has described inspector-general of police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar's refusal to comply with two court orders as "akin to mutiny" and has demanded that he quit or be sacked.
"GBM calls upon IGP Khalid Abu Bakar to resign over his deliberate refusal to comply with two High Court orders in two child custody cases, which is akin to mutiny.
"If Khalid refuses to resign, then the necessary procedure of Police Forces Commission must be triggered to result in his dismissal," it said in a statement today.
Specifically, the NGOs are upset at Khalid who said he will not enforce the decision by the Seremban and Ipoh High Court relating to child custody issues after a parent had converted to Islam.
Both courts had found in favour two Hindu mothers, granting them custody of their children but their Muslim-convert fathers are still refusing to return the children.
Prior to this, the fathers have obtained custody of the children at the Syariah Court after secretly converting their children to Islam, but the civil courts stepped in as both couples were married under the civil law.
'Acting like military general'
Khalid had said he will instead put the children in a childcare centre.
"This is akin to a military general advising the defence minister of the next military move after defying the latter’s order," said the coalition.
The GBM also censured Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for apparently reaffirming the police chief's "misconduct" by suggesting the issues be resolved at the Federal Court level.
"Najib’s suggestion (is) tantamount to a declaration that the high courts have no power to have the police respect their orders," it said.
The coalition said there is no room for military or police disobedience to civilian rule and it cannot act on its own discretion.
"GBM holds that Malaysians may have different opinions, but the principle of the rule of law must be upheld and protected.
"Malaysia will sink into chaos if every police officer makes his or her own call to decide whether to execute any order from the judiciary or executive," it said.
The GBM comprises 13 NGOs, including All Women's Action Society, Suaram, Komas and Islamic Renaissance Front.
Bitter custody tussles
In April, the Seremban High Court awarded custody of two children to S Deepa after her ex-husband N Viran @ Izwan Abdullah converted them to Islam without the mother’s knowledge.
Prior to this, Izwan had obtained a Syariah Court order granting him custody of the two children.
The Seremban High Court ruled that it was a matter for the civil court to decide as theirs was a marriage under civil law.
Khalid has insisted that police cannot act, claiming there were contradicting orders by the syariah and civil courts.
Since then, another similar case involving the six-year-old daughter of M Indira Gandhi and Muslim convert ex-husband Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah was heard in the Ipoh High Court on May 31.
In this case, the judge specifically outlined in its ruling that the High Court was superior to the Syariah Court.
The judge also found Mohd Ridzuan guilty of contempt for not returning the daughter to Indira and said police must issue a warrant of arrest against him if he still refuses to comply within a week.
Mohd Ridzuan defied the order but police still refused to act, prompting the Ipoh High Court to issue a rare order against the police on Thursday, instructing cops to retrieve the child within 30 days, failing which it must explain to the court in an affidavit.