The custodial death of Kugan Ananthan reflects a serious public safety crisis in Malaysia. I applaud Malaysian Indian Youth Development Foundation (MIYDF) chairperson SA Vigneswaran's call for a permanent solution to the problem.
He is right to point out that blaming the federal government alone is not a solution. It will not get us anywhere.
Vigneswaran also pointed out that Kugan's death was not an indication of the gulf between the government and the Indian community because it’s not just the Indians who were outraged by the incident.
"The whole country, Malays, Indians and Chinese were stunned that this sort of thing could still happen. We have laws and standards that have been regulated to safeguard the welfare of detainees."
It is not necessary to racialize this issue. But we do need a sweeping reinvention and revamp of the police force. Efforts to run the police down do not help alleviate the problem either. There are still good cops in the force.
The police need to change their public perception. This can only be achieved if they remain independent and committed to combating crime. Not being used as a political tool by the politicians.
It is normal for the public to be outraged by mammoth display of force by the police during peaceful demonstrations. The police sole responsibility is to safeguard public safety and not being used a pawn in any political confrontation.
We must take cognisance of the fact that it is not easy being a police officer. Those committed police officers who have put their safety in line to go after hardcore criminals and keep us safe should be applauded for their commitment.
To change the image of police force, they need the public's help as well as their own commitment to professionalism.
Another advice for DPM Najib, maybe it is time to change the home affairs minister.