Thursday, December 04, 2008

KEKUASAAN POLIS GANTI KETINGGIAN PERLEMBAGAAN

Oleh : Mohamed Hanipa Maidin

Jika hobi boleh didefiniskan sebagai satu amal perbuatan yang berterusan yang dilakukan dengan penuh keceriaan maka kerja menangkap dan menahan orang yang terlibat dengan perhimpunan boleh dikatakan sebagai hobi pihak polis di negara ini. Tetapi hobi itu sendiri ada yang baik dan ada yang tidak baik. Menangkap orang yang hanya berhimpun secara aman sudah pasti adalah satu hobi yang tidak baik.

Bercakap tentang perhimpunan aman di negara ini ianya dikawal oleh Perkara 10 Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Ia adalah hak yang asas yang dijamin oleh undang-undang tertinggi di negara ini. Secara teorinya apabila sesuatu hak itu dijamin dan dilindungi oleh Perlembagaan Persekutuan kita boleh katakan hak tersebut adalah satu hak yang amat penting. Tidak sepertimana di England di mana Parlimen adalah kuasa yang tertinggi di negara tersebut, di negara ini Perlembagaan Persekutuan diisytiharkan sebagai undang-undang tertinggi di negara ini ( lihat Perkara 4 Perlembagaan Persekutuan )

Tetapi itu hanya di dalam teori. Kata-kata manis sering diabadikan di dalam teori. Tetapi apa yang penting adalah perlaksanaannya secara praktikal. Dari segi praktisnya jaminan dan perlindungan hak berhimpun secara aman di dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan tidak memberi nilai apa-apa. Benar, ianya tidak memberi nilai apa-apa. Secara praktisnya, apa yang berlaku adalah kuasa polis amat besar di dalam isu perhimpunan. Ketinggian kuasa polis ( police supremacy ) hakikatnya menggantikan ketinggian Perlembagaan Persekutuan ( constitutional supremacy ).

Bagaimana ini berlaku ? Sebahagian kesalahan itu bolehlah kita kaitkan dengan penggubal Perlembagaan Persekutuan itu sendiri. Meskipun Perlembagaan menjamin hak rakyat untuk berhimpun secara aman namun penggubal Perlembagaan masih merasakan perlunya memberikan kuasa kepada Parlimen ( elemen lain selain dari Perlembagaan ) untuk menghadkan hak berhimpun secara aman di dalam Perlembagaan itu. Walau apa pun niat penggubal Perlembagaan itu, apa yang pasti mereka tidak sedar apabila Parlimen dikuasai oleh parti yang sama untuk tempoh yang panjang , hak berhimpun tersebut dengan mudah di”noda” oleh Parlimen itu sendiri.

Memandangkan Parlimen sering dikuasai oleh BN sejak Pilihanraya Umum yang pertama, ahli-ahli Parlimen BN menggunakan kuasa yang diberikan oleh Perlembagaan untuk menghadkan hak berhimpun tersebut. Maka digubalnya satu akta untuk tujuan tersebut iaitu Akta Polis 1967.

Seksyen 27 dimasukkan di dalam Akta Polis tersebut. Seksyen tersebut bukan sekadar menghadkan hak berhimpun tetapi sebaliknya “membunuh” hak berhimpun tersebut .
Terima kasih kepada penguasaan BN di Parlimen , hak rakyat untuk berhimpun di mana mana bahagian di dalam negari ini kini bergantung kepada belas ikhsan seorang Ketua Polis Daerah ( KPD ). Bayangkanlah hak berhimpun yang dijamin oleh undang-undang tertinggi di negara ini kini ditentukan oleh sekeping permit yang dikeluarkan oleh seorang KPD yang amat berkuasa dan sering menyalahguna kuasa. Fakta bahawa KPD adalah proksi BN adalah suatu yang sukar nak dipertikaikan.

Sebagai satu contoh lihat sahaja amalan diskriminasi pihak polis baru-baru ini. Perhimpunan menyokong ISA yang dianjurkan oleh badan-badan yang dinaungi UMNO di Jalan Tun Razak pada 23 November tidak langsung diganggu oleh polis jauh sekali ditangkap. Sebaliknya perhimpunan menentang ISA anjuran Pakatan Rakyat dan Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA ( GMI ) yang dibuat di sebelah malam pada hari yang sama di padang Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya menyaksikan ratusan kehadiran polis bertopeng merah dan berakhir dengan tangkapan 9 orang termasuk Y.B Salahudin Ayub dan Tuan Haji Mohamad Sabu atas alasan tiada permit. Kita pun tidak pasti pada malam itu adakah rakyat berhimpun tiada permit atau hakikatnya polis yang berhimpun tanpa permit !!


Terdapat dua bentuk perhimpunan di dalam Akta Polis 1967. Pertamanya perhimpunan di tempat awam yang memerlukan permit polis di bawah seksyen 27 Akta Polis.. Keduanya perhimpunan di premis persendirian yang tidak memerlukan permit dan ianya di kawal oleh seksyen 27A Akta Polis.

Dalam banyak keadaan , pihak KPD sering tersalah anggap bahawa Akta Polis memberikan kuasa yang amat luas kepada mereka untuk memberikan atau tidak memberikan permit. Hatta Akta Polis membenarkan perhimpunan yang diberikan permit dibatalkan permitnya tanpa sebarang alasan perlu diberikan. Sering kali pemberian permit dinafikan di atas alasan yang diulang-ulang iaitu menjejaskan keselamatan negara sedangkan apa yang berlaku ianya menjejaskan keselamatan UMNO !!! Pernah berlaku di Negeri Sembilan polis membatalkan permit kerana perhimpunan berhampiran dengan kubur !!! Pernah juga berlaku perhimpunan yang nak di buat di Muar dan di Klang , KPD meminta tuan rumah mengemukakan geran tanah !! Minta permit dah macam buat pinjaman di bank !

Sebagai peguam dan aktivis politik saya mempunyai pengalaman yang agak banyak dengan Akta Polis. Sebagai peguam saya banyak mengendalikan kes-kes yang melibatkan pemimpin, ahli dan penyokong Pas di seluruh negara dan Alhamdulillah setakat ini hampir semua kes, kita ( Pas ) menang di Mahkamah. Sebagai aktivis politik pula saya sendiri sudah dua kali dimasukkan ke dalam lokap di bawah Akta Polis ini.

Pengalaman mengendalikan kes perhimpunan haram di bawah Akta Polis memberi keyakinan kepada saya pihak polis khususnya KPD tidak mempunyai pengetahuan yang mendalam berkaitan Akta itu sendiri.

Saya pernah menyoal balas seorang KPD di Mahkamah dan bertanyakan dia perbezaaan seksyen 27 dan seksyen 27A Akta Polis dan dia tidak boleh menjawab. Saya katakan kepada KPD tersebut bagaimana beliau boleh memproses permohonan permit jika beliau sendiri tidak tahu seksyen 27 dan 27A Akta Polis.

Seorang KPD pernah ditanya oleh saya perhimpunan yang macam mana perlu mendapatkan permit dan dia menjawab perhimpunan yang dihadiri oleh tiga orang. Saya pun bertanya jika saya, isteri saya dan anak saya berhimpun di rumah adakah saya perlu dapat permit dia pun menjawab begini : Oh. perhimpunan yang perlu permit mesti dihadiri oleh empat orang . Saya tanya lagi kepada dia : Baiklah jika empat orang saya tambah satu lagi anak saya adakah masih perlu permit. KPD tersebut tidak dapat jawab dan beliau ditertawakan oleh polis-polis yang ada di Mahkamah dan juga oleh tuan Majistret sendiri.

Polis mungkin berkuasa menangkap dan menahan rakyat yang tidak berdosa yang berhimpun secara aman . Tetapi apabila berada di Mahkamah saya berani mengatakan polis adalah saksi yang paling tidak berkuasa dan paling teruk apabila memberikan keterangan mereka di Mahkamah di dalam kes-kes perhimpunan haram.

Yang terbaru apabila Dr Hatta dan seorang lagi aktivis Partai Keadilan didakwa terlibat di dalam perhimpunan haram ( perhimpunan protes kenaikan minyak ) di bawah seksyen 143 Kanun Keseksaan, kami sebagai peguambela dengan mudah berhujah dan berjaya meyakinkan Mahkamah bahawa pertuduhan itu tidak sah dan dakwaan ke atas Dr Hatta patut dibatalkan. Hujah kami perhimpunan haram di bawah seksyen 143 mestilah mempunyai 5 orang ke atas dan memandangkan hanya dua orang sahaja di dakwa maka pertuduhan itu tidak sah. Mahkamah bersetuju dengan kami dan memerintahkan Dr Hatta di bebaskan tanpa bicara.

Untuk pasukan polis janganlah buang masa menggangu perhimpunan aman rakyat. Bukankah lebih baik tenaga dan masa anda ditumpukan kepada menangkap para penjenayah yang sebenar. Di situlah letaknya kemuliaan uniform anda !

This is the english version of the abovesaid article

A CLASH BETWEEN CONSTITUTIONAL SUPREMACY AND POLICE SUPREMACY

If hobby may be defined as a habitual act done with a great joy then arresting and detaining persons involved in an assembly has become the pastime of our police force. But hobby may be classified as good or bad . Arresting innocent people who attend a peaceful assembly is definitely a bad hobby.

Talking about law on a peaceful assembly in this country, it is governed by Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. It is a fundamental right enshrined in the highest law of the land. In theory it seems that this right is so sacred as it is protected and guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. Unlike England where Parliament is supreme, here we have the constitution which is declared the supreme law. Any law which contravenes the constitution is declared void by virtue of Article 4 .

That is in theory. Sweet words are always embodied in theory. What matters is the practice. Practically speaking as far as the right to assemble peacefully in any part of this country, the assurance in the constitution is nothing. Yes, nothing. What we have, in practical terms, is the supremacy of the police. The police supremacy reigns in the realm of public assembly in this country.

How does that happen? Partly the blame goes to the framers of the constitution. Despite guaranteeing the people’s right to freedom of assembly the framers saw it fit to give the Parliament power to restrict such a fundamental right. May be the framers were too na├»ve. They, presumably, did not know the true colour of BN leaders who have been in command of Parliament since the first General Election.

As BN has been controlling the Parliament, it used or rather misused the proviso of Article 10 of the constitution to legislate the law on freedom of assembly. The Police Act 1967 was thus born from this proviso.

Section 27 was inserted therein not to restrict the right to assembly but to “kill” it once and for all. Thanks to BN supremacy in Parliament, the Malaysians’ right to freedom of assembly is solely at the untrammeled discretion of the OCPD. Malaysians are at the full mercy of the OCPD when they want to assemble. Yes, you can use the word OCPD and the proxy of BN interchangeably. They are different sides of the same coin.

There are two forms of assembly known under the Police Act namely, an assembly in a public place and an assembly in a private place. The former requires a prior licence from the OCPD and is governed by section 27 of the Police Act. The latter requires no licence and is governed by section 27A of the Police Act.

In many circumstances , the police especially the OCPDs seemed to form a view that this obnoxious Act gives them a carte blanche power to allow or deny the peoples’ right to assemble . To cite one example - when the organizers of BERSIH planned to organize a big gathering in the city, the OCPD made a public statement that such a gathering would not be allowed and stern action would be taken against the organizers and the attendees respectively if it was to be carried out. Such a statement was clearly an erroneous one simply because at that time the organizers had yet to submit their application for a licence.

As the application for a licence was to be submitted to the OCPD under section 27, he , being the decision maker, should have refrained from making any statement let alone a statement prohibiting the assembly. By making such an irresponsible statement it implied that he had already made up his mind on the application.

But the statement needed to be made because his political masters had already given a warning to the organizers. He had to join the bandwagon of his political masters ( read political clowns ).

I have handled a lot of cases involving offences under section 27 of the Police Act.. And so far, thanks to God, I have won almost all the cases. In all these cases I represented many PAS leaders , members and supporters. My experience shows that most of the police stand as the most dim-witted witnesses in any case involving unlawful assembly.

I have cross examined many OCPDs and I can certainly say that their knowledge of law on unlawful assembly is extremely superficial. They cannot even grasp the basic aspect of the law.

Some of them do not even know the difference between section 27 and 27A. Mind you the OCPD is legally entrusted to process and in turn approve or disprove any application for a permit of any public assembly.

I remembered pretty well one incident when I cross examined an OCPD in Pahang.. My client was charged for an offence under section 27 even though the assembly took place in a private place.

When I asked this OCPD what kind of assembly needed a permit, he testified that the assembly means the gathering of three persons. If three persons assemble, he told the court, they must apply for a permit. Then I asked him if my wife , my daughter and I assembled in our house , do we need a permit ? This was his reply : Oh , I think the assembly which needs a licence must have 4 persons. I told him : Ok, then, I add one more of my daughter to make it four, do we still need a permit from OCPD ? He could not answer the question. Then I asked one more question : Do you know the difference between section 27 and 27A of the Police Act ? Again, he could not answer that simple question. I repeatedly asked him the same question and he repeatedly could not answer the question. Then I put to him : you actually don’t know section 27 and 27A respectively ? He nodded. Then I made him to agree with me when I asked this question : Do you agree , since you do not know section 27 and 27A of the Police Act it is reasonable to say that you in fact do not know how to process an application for a permit . Surprisingly he agreed with me !!! And we won the case without the need to call for defence.

In one case in Johor Bahru ( Dzulkifli Ahmad v PP ) I appeared for the accused person who happened to be a PAS leader in Johor. The assembly also took place in a private place yet the prosecution charged my client under section 27 on the charge that the assembly failed to obtain a permit. We lost in the Magistrate’s court . Actually the loss was not surprising at all to me as the learned Magistrate was still new and had no experience in handling a criminal trial. Before the case started , she called both the prosecution and the defence counsels and asked us to prepare a statement of agreed facts. I politely told her that this was not a civil trial where the judge may ask the parties to prepare the agreed facts. In a criminal trial, I told her, there is no burden on the defence to prove anything let alone to agree with any facts as the burden of proof is on the prosecution throughout the trial.

We filed an appeal and won. The appeal was heard before the late Justice Genghadaran who was very knowledgable and extremely pleasant with lawyers. In the appeal I submitted to him that almost all the police witnesses who gave evidence in the trial agreed with my suggestion that the assembly took place in a private place and it required no licence as it is governed by section 27A of the Police Act. Yet, I submitted to the judge the prosecution had submitted contrary to the evidence of their own witnesses by saying that the assembly still required a licence. In my submission I tendered to the court a Suhakam report on the public inquiry of an assembly on Kesas highway where it was held that an assembly in a private place required no licence. I submitted to the court that even though the Suhakam report was not a binding precedent yet the court has to seriously consider the findings of the Suhakam as the latter was established by the government in order to jealously protect and safeguard the human rights which of course include the right to assemble peacefully. .

The prosecution submitted that a private place may be turned into a public place if the gathering attracted people outside that place. The Judge then shot at the prosecution by asking this question : Are you saying that if I were to hold a wedding ceremony in my house and invited guests outside my house , I still need to apply for a permit ? Don’t you think this is a ridiculous proposition ?

The judge then gave a judgment in my client’s favour and in his illuminating judgment he said inter alia that any assembly which takes place in a private place does not need any permit even though the voice travels outside that place .

The morale of the abovesaid stories is that the police may be powerful when it comes to disturbing and dispersing gatherings and arresting and detaining persons attending such a gathering. But when they come to court to testify the police have been the most powerless creature I have ever seen in any court of law.

3 comments:

aNaK BaPaK said...

salam...

maaf ana bicara perkara luar tajuk..

tentang respon blogger "tom cruise" berkaitan keruntuhan ekonomi kapitalis..ana harap enta dapat buat satu respon terhadap beliau yang nyata menolak mekanisma ekonomi islam dengan satu tulidan yang ana kira boleh me"was-was"kan orang awam muslim khususnya..

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