Today, both Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) and the Hanif Panel have kicked off their inquiries into the alleged violence committed by the police on the BERSIH 3.0 rally last April.
Malaysiakini reported testimonies from witnesses including the military-grade barbwire nearly slicing off a participant's ear as well as a bystander being dragged into a headlock.
Meanwhile, The Malaysian Insider reported of the Hanif Panel covering areas of the city where the violence between protestors and the police happened on that day. They'd also be visiting the detention center in Jalan Semarak later on.
Here we are we have a lot of eyewitness accounts saying that the police usually acted outside their norms. Journalists were assaulted with their equipment destroyed by some of the officers. Even some of the participants who do no harm and were inside restaurants were also not spared from police violence. Similarly, as in the second round of the rally, the police have also reacted unprofessionally and in a hostile behavior towards the public.
However, it was exaggerated and worse than the second rally. Why was this happening?
However, this piece of information, were if it is revealed could have shed light to everything on that day.
In mid-May 2012, RPK, wrote in "The IGP must fall on his sword" said:
Then, on 28th April 2012, all hell broke loose. The police violence in Bersih 3.0 was as bad or worse than in the Bersih 2.0 rally. What happened to the ‘go by the book’ and the ‘absolutely no violence’ instruction from the Prime Minister?
The IGP crawled back to Najib’s office with this tail between his legs and sheepishly told the Prime Minister that he had lost control of the police on that day.
What happened? What made the police go berserk?
It was because of the rumour, the IGP replied. There was a rumour circulating amongst the police that three police personnel had died, killed by the Bersih protestors. Hence the police were outraged and were out for revenge. They no longer could control the police personnel on the ground.
This is it - that's the reason it went from bad to worse - a lot of beatings, a lot of gas round fired, etc.. in other words the chief has lost control of the situation. In the evening, after 6 p.m on that day, there were tweets from people speaking of the rumor of three police officers dead.
However, this critical piece of information and the missing piece of the puzzle was never revealed / withheld to the public. Surely, it is meant for one reason: to keep the police image intact since it faced tons of criticism, brickbats and accusations from the public and the opposition. Then again, eyewitness accounts mentioned of how at times the officers on duty that day speak out of emotions rather than in professional conduct. As a witness said, "Why are you running away? If you have guts come and face us. Stand and fight."
Isn't that equivalent to gangster talk?
If that missing puzzle piece would have been revealed, it would have altered the outcome. It would have exonerated the public from being the chief culprit of the Bersih 3.0 violence. It would also have shed more light for both Suhakam and the Hanif panel in their investigations. Why keep on vilifying the public whereas the public carried no harm, guns or tools of violence on that day itself?
Let's put this in parallel.
The Los Angeles 1992 riots happened following the acquittal of the four police officers responsible for the beating of the recently-deceased Rodney King. Had there been information or admission that shed the light of the incident, there would not have been such incident. King would not have been vilified (in the context of the case related to that) and there would not be any losses on that three dark days of the city.
Whether it got revealed or otherwise, it led to the resignation of LAPD chief, Daryl Gates because as the chief he failed to control his subordinates. Likewise, it should happened here right?