Malaysian PM agrees with body cameras for enforcement officers

Enforcement personnel such as policemen could soon be equipped with body cameras if ‘the government has money’, says Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.


PUTRAJAYA, Sep 19, 2019, FMT. The government may consider requiring enforcement agencies to equip their personnel with body cameras, two days after claims of police high-handedness during a shootout in Selangor, reported the Free Malaysia Today.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said camera evidence could confirm the truth about claims of abuse.

“We want to know if a person is assaulted. There will be denials, but when we have camera footage, we will know,” he told reporters after chairing a Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption here.

He added that only selected officers from the Immigration Department, Customs Department and police force would be given such cameras.

When asked when the government would provide enforcement agencies with the equipment, he said: “When we have the money.”

On Tuesday, DAP’s Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto suggested that the police be equipped with body cameras so that videos and images can be used as evidence in investigations, inquiries and court proceedings.

This followed conflicting versions of events in the recent shootout between police and three others in Batu Arang, Selangor.

It was reported that the police had ordered a car carrying the three men – Sri Lankan national Janarthanan Vijayaratnam, his brother-in-law Thavaselvan and Maghendran Santhirasegaran – to pull over at Bandar Country Homes, but that they had ignored the order, sparking a 7km chase.

It was later claimed that the wife of one of the men was present during the incident, but has been missing.

Earlier, Mahathir said the government is also looking to install CCTVs in lock-ups.

“This is so the police can tell what happens (in the lock-ups),” he said.

He acknowledged concerns about a lack of privacy but said having cameras in lock-ups was “more important”.

He also spoke of the possibility of “integrating” the civil service to tackle the shortage of manpower in government agencies such as the police force and Customs Department.

He said there are currently 1.7 million civil servants.

“As we do not have enough money to employ more people, we can integrate the civil service and transfer its personnel to different departments,” he said.

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