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Malaysian Alien


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Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Squatgate: I rather swallow a button!

I rather swallow a button than to be stripped, searched and have my naked body be recorded by strangers without my consent (then circulated through the internet and MMS).

Talking about men and women in uniforms and the power they yield.

I was relating to PY an incident last year when I was stopped during a road block. It was 0300 hours when my friends and I wagered that the last person to arrive at our supper place will treat the rest of us maggi mee goreng. So there I was speeding in my car zooming at crazy speed with an Indonesian girlfriend of mine. All the cars were going at really neck breaking speed down a tiny lane where we had to make a left turn.

Immediately after the left turn, there was a roadblock ahead. Indonesian gf panicked and asked if she should show her traveling documents to the police. I told her that she should only show if the police asked. So we slowed down and queued up. Police came and I smiled. Policeman asked for my ID card, which I promptly produced. He asked if I was Malaysian.

“Tentulah saya orang Malaysia. Kalau tak, camner dapat IC?” I said. (translation: Of course I am a Malaysian. How else would I produce an ID card?)

Mr. Policeman was not convinced and asked for my driving licence, which I also produced. He still was not satisfied, flipping the cards and trying to see if the cards were authentic.

I spoke in English and asked if there was anything wrong. Mr. Policeman asked some private questions, such as where do I stay, what is my profession etc. I replied everything in perfect English.

Satisfied, he then waived me away.

Now with the squatgate incident, I realized that I might have been the one hauled into the lockup if Mr. Policeman was not satisfied with my ID card and driving licence. I could have been the one doing the squats naked.

Men and women in uniform has great authority and I respect that. I am a law abiding citizen who do not even litter in public. So if I am hauled the lockup because a Policeman is not satisfied with my citizenship, what am I to do?

Does that mean I will have to strip because a person dressed in police uniform asked me to? I personally will not strip. Not in public and definitely not for any stranger, not even if it is a woman. Not even if it is the correct Police procedure. This is my body and it is my right to protect it.

There are ways to look for foreign objects other than stripping and doing ear squats. Surely there must be. Malaysia has the Petronas Twin Towers. We have the Malaysian Tourism Board showing beautiful scenes from Malaysia with a tagline that says, “Malaysia Truly Asia”. We have the biggest this and the greatest that. And still strip and squat is the normal and PROPER POLICE PROCEDURE? It is atrocious!

For me, I dare say that I object to being stripped and searched. It is inhumane to put anyone through this. Imagine the embarrassment and indignity. Strip search and squats are degrading and susceptible to abuse of power as proven by the Squatgate video.

In its place, may I suggest that the police either send the person for X-rays in hospitals (yes, even if it’s at 0300 hours) or use an ultra sound machine. If there is a real need to strip search, then it ought to be done in private, in a hospital and in the presence of a doctor as witness. And no squatting is necessary.

To put this debate to rest, I have a simple question: How do we check all boarding passengers at airport terminals? Do we strip search and squat? Do you not think that an air passenger possesses greater danger and poses greater risks? That he/she is able to board a huge airplane with more than 200 passengers with the risk of slamming another airplane into a building and killing thousands upon thousands?

If strip search is not the general procedure at any international airport for the greater risk it poses, I think it is not necessary to strip search anyone in a lockup. Especially not for suspected illegal immigrants. Period.

Someone said "airport scanners cannot detect drugs or ceramics, X-rays give cancer and even people that go for MRI scans are stripped first because any metal in their pockets becomes dangerous flying objects in the very strong magnetic field".

Fair comment.

So I will end this entry with the following questions:

  • How do we maintain the dignity and rights of a man/woman during a strip and search?

  • How do we prevent the abuse of power by those in authority during a strip and search procedure?

  • How do we educate the public of their rights during arrests?

  • How do we compensate the woman whose face and body is now circulated through the internet and mobiles?

  • How do we prevent another incident similar to this video from happening again?



Hmm, what's with naked prisoners these days? Abu Ghraib, now Malaysia? Malaysian cops are taking these American anti-terrorism training a little too far.

5:43 pm  

Probably it is the right time to retrain the police force; this time to use procedures which are a little more suited for more matured, knowledgable and well travelled Malaysians.

I was wondering what will happen if the chinese girl refused to strip and searched? It is her body afterall. If she refuses to undress, no one can undress her. If anyone strips her without her permission, it would be classified as attempted rape or rape itself.

What do you think?

12:38 am  

my sentiments exactly...

3:34 am  

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