Following the recent sexual harassment case by a police officer recently at the roadblock in Jalan Duta, it is essential that we know the basic rights that we have when confronted by a police, be it at roadblocks or when asked to pull over by the roadside.
If you are ever stopped by a police officer unnecessarily, you need to know your rights to prevent yourself from being exploited. Here are the top 10 rights that every Malaysian should know if you are ever caught in such a situation.
1. Politely ask for identification if he or she is not in a police uniform
Every police officer holds an authority card (or otherwise known as kad kuasa) as evidence that they are legitimate law enforcers. It is relatively common for a police officer who is on duty to be patrolling in plain clothes.
Be sure to always politely ask for such identification to avoid being scammed or taken advantage by ill-intended parties. If you need more clarification, you may also ask them which police station they are from.
2. Police with red identification card does not have authority
Police identification cards come in the following 4 colors, depending on their current ranking and/ or status:
– Red card: Currently suspended. As such, they do not have any rights to hold you for any reasons
– Blue card: Rank of an inspector or above
– Yellow: Rank below that of an inspector
– White: Reserve police
3. Take note of the identification number and name if he or she is wearing a uniform
In the event of any discrepancies or complaints, this information is essential and must be provided when making a police report.
4. Provide only basic identification information
You are not obligated to answer anything other than providing your name, IC number, and home address, unless the police are conducting an investigation on criminal activity that just happened in the area.
5. Validate reason for the arrest
The police must have a reasonable ground to arrest you and you have the right to know. If you are being arrested, ask for the reason of charge for the arrest and the type of offence under what Act.
Another point to note is that you should not resist if the police arrests you. They have the right to use reasonable force against you if you resist.
6. You have the rights to remain silent
You have the right to contact a lawyer after arrest. If you are feeling nervous or emotionally unstable due to fear, remain silent and avoid blurting out random words as the officer may just use them against you later. If they try to probe you for any further information, you can politely say “I will answer in Court”. You have the right to lodge a police report against the officer if they threaten, beat, or force you.
7. The police office must immediately bring you to the police station upon the arrest
Be sure to ask them which police station is he or she bringing you to. He or she should not bring you to anywhere else for any reasons at all. You have the rights to make phone calls when you are being arrested. You may call your family, friend, lawyer, or the Legal Aid Centre (LAC) to inform them about the arrest.
8. Detainment can only be for up to 24 hours for investigation
It is the police’s duty to complete the investigation within 24 hours and release you as soon as possible. If the police want to hold you for more than 24 hours, they will have to bring you before a Magistrate for a remand order to extend your detention.
9. Things to take note of during a raid
During raids, the police can search your body/bags without arrest. However, this should be done in the presence of a Police Officer who is an inspector or of a higher rank. It is important to not allow any police officer to put his hands into your pockets or bags. Instead, just politely volunteer to empty your pockets and/ or bag and flip it inside out to show them that it is now empty. Name the items as you take them out such as “Wallet. Keys. IC.”.
10. Ladies can only be searched by a female police officer
All searches are separated by gender. If a male officer insists to search your body, do not give in and be sure to protest. Body searches must also be done with decency. Officers are neither allowed to touch private parts, nor are they able to force you to strip naked for a search. If an officer forces you to strip naked, again, be sure to protest. Remember the officer’s name, and lodge a report against him or her as soon as possible after the incident.
Have you become a more informed Malaysian today? Keep following us to be a wiser Malaysian driver the ez way!