If I ask you a simple question, ‘What is human rights to you?’ The most likely answer you will give me is, ‘the right to freedom, the right to speak out your mind, the right to choose your own religion etc’. For me, I’d like to add in some more such as the right to live your life, the right to make your own decision, the right to choose your husband, the right to choose your friends, the right to wear whatever you feel like, and the right to eat whatever you want hehe. But seriously, I think most of us (even the adults!) have a very vague idea on what our human rights are. And I have the Era Consumer to thank for organizing a human rights seminar for us clueless people. Not to bore you with all the details throughout the seminar, I’d just like to share with you guys some of the interesting bits which could be important for your knowledge. For example, if you get arrested (palis-palis…), what are your basic rights? Ha! We must know about that, don’t we?
To start off with, let’s look into what other human rights are there in Malaysia besides the main three I’ve listed above. According to the Federal Constitution, there are the right to personal liberty (this is when you get arrested), abolition of slavery, right to equal protection under the law, rights in respect of education, protection against racial discrimination, right to property (big issue here), right to citizenship and to vote (another big issue!). The speaker, who talked about the Federal Constitution, remarked that our view on what the Government is like is not what we think it would be. We think that the government is all about rankings such as the PM, deputy PM, and the other ministers right? Wrong. Look at it in this way. There is the Constitution (Perlembagaan) on top, which is divided into the Courts and the Monarchy. Under the Monarchy, we have the Parliament and below it is the Executive. So who decides the laws? Normal laws are made by the Parliament, but the Courts can decide on whether to enforce or abolish the laws. Sadly, this is not the case in Malaysia. According to the speaker, the Courts are described as ‘conservative and are still British-colonized’. They feel that the Parliament is powerful and are in favour of the Parliament’s decisions. Another way to put it, the Courts ‘tutup mata sahaja’ (just close their eyes). Another very interesting (and über sensitive) issue to look at is the freedom of religion. Freedom of religion exists in all democratic countries, but here in Malaysia there’s a bit of twist into it. Whatever religion that you are in, you can always convert into another depending on your beliefs, right? I mean, it’s a matter of you and God, and not anyone else’s business. But it’s not in the case of Islam. Once you’re an Islam, you can never convert into other religions. Why? As commented by the speaker, according to his sources, in the Muslim world, being an Islam means that you have made a pact with God in the ‘heavenly courts’. Obviously, there’s no court more supreme than the heavenly courts. So if the person wants to get out of the religion, it’s like an act of offense against God. Another simple way to see it is that you will be in God’s ‘black list’. Actually, freedom of religion is a human right and not one of those laws made by people. Like what the speaker said, human rights do not require laws, they are inherited. Hmm…so what do you guys think about that?
Anyway! Let’s get onto the next best part. OK, how will you react if you get arrested? Let’s see…panicked, scared, freeze to the ground, faint…anymore? I think I’ll faint hehe. Right, the first main thing is to ask WHY you have been arrested (mana tau salah orang or maybe the police guy just want to have some fun teasing you!). If the police gives a perfectly logical explanation, then you have no choice (sob!) but to follow him to the (nearest) balai. However, potential witnesses are NOT ALLOWED to be arrested. So if he/she wants to drag you along, tell him/her (in a nice way) to properly re-check the police arrest manual. And what happens when the arrested gets locked up in jail? Some important things to note: you can only be detained for 24 hours (check your watch!), and you have the right to make calls (your lawyer, family, or friends). The police can’t force you to make calls if you don’t want to. But there’s one niggling thing, though. The speaker said that if you (a husband) have been caught in entertainment outlets with a group of giggly, well-endowed girls, don’t call your wife, but a friend instead. Why ah? I also tak faham la. Also, when you are discussing with your lawyer in jail, the police are not allowed to listen to your conversation but can watch from afar.
Another interesting bit to chat on is the types of body search techniques. Did you know that some of the techniques can only be performed by police with certain rankings? Ok, the most basic body search is the pat down search which can be performed by all police officers. A similar example would be when you are being ‘searched’ in the airport whereby when you pass the metal detector, a ‘ping’ sound emerges. Another type would be the strip search whereby you may be required to, basically, ‘strip’ (but not remove all your clothes at the same time la, and it’s conducted in a private room)! But only police officers with rankings of Inspector and above can only conduct this type of body search. The third one, which you guys may be familiar based on a newspaper article, is the intimate search. Remember when the girl was forced to do squats naked? That’s an example of an intimate search. The squatting process is to determine whether illegal weapons or any evidence are being hidden in the ‘intimate’ areas. But one mistake on the scenario is that the girl is naked. According to the procedures, the arrested person does not necessary have to remove all of his/her clothing. And this type of search can only be conducted by the Assistant Superintendent of Police and above. Lastly, would be the intrusive search whereby evidence or any weapon have to be removed from inside the body. One example would be whereby the arrested person is given laxatives in order to ‘give out’ evidences such as drugs stuffed in condoms. This can only be conducted by a Medical Officer with the approval of an Officer in charge of the Police District. Well! That’s quite a whole lot, isn’t it? An advice for avid clubbers out there, if the club you’re in has been raided by the police, they have the right to conduct body search on you without you being arrested. The Inspector must be there in order to authorize the body search. However, DO NOT let the police to put their hands in your pockets or bags. Instead, volunteer to empty them and let them have a view of your belongings. After emptying your bags, turn them inside out in order to show there’s nothing inside. You cannot be forced to strip naked and they should body search you with gracious decency.
So, I bet you guys had quite a lot to learn today about some of your basic rights, isn’t it? It is better to know rather than not to know at all. Those who had gained some knowledge from this article hopefully can passed ‘em down to their family and friends. Let there be a more educated community! =)
nice signboard hehea view of the participants...that's my sweet lydia smiling!
group pic of le komluakans...that's the 'Chief' sitting down!