KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- The Prime Minister has described as totally inappropriate a remark by Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Noh Omar who had asked foreigners to go back to their own country if they find the Malaysian police cruel.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told Bernama Wednesday that Noh's remark had touched on the government's policy and stand which actually welcomed tourists and foreign guests, whether they are here to visit, study, receive medical treatment or do business.
"Government officials should be more sensitive and careful when issuing statements on the issue.
"I have reprimanded Datuk Noh Omar on the matter," he said.
Noh was reported to have made the remark at a press conference at the Parliament lobby, Tuesday when asked on the video clip featuring a woman, believed to be a Chinese national, doing ear squats in the nude while in police custody.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang said the prime minister's warning to Noh was insufficient.
Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, he said Noh's remark was serious and as such he should be suspended, if not sacked.
Lim said that Noh's explanation that his statement was misunderstood by the press was also unacceptable.
"Nobody misunderstood him. It's very clear what he meant. There must be a greater seriousness in how things are being done. There are a lot of loose cannons all over the place; it seems to be going against the PM's declared agenda," he added.
Lim said Noh's remark had not only undermined the prime minister's efforts but was detrimental to the national interest.
"I think he should retract (the statement), apologise and be suspended, if not sacked," he said.
“If the orang asing (foreigners) think we are zalim (cruel), ask them to go back to their own country,” Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Noh Omar declared during a Press conference in the Parliament lobby yesterday.
Noh lost his cool after repeated badgering by the foreign media on the MMS video clip featuring a Chinese woman in the buff doing ear squats while in police custody.
Noh’s response drew disbelief from the media.
Noh had spent much of his Press conference defending what he had been saying earlier on a range of issues.
“What is certain is that the woman in the video clip is not one of the four China national detainees,” he said earlier.
However, while Noh cleared one aspect of the controversy, he refused to declare if the woman in the clip was local or foreign.
Noh, while acknowledging that the incident had taken place, said he is confident the cops had acted within procedures.
When the foreign media asked Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang what he thought of Noh's remark, Lim said: “If he (Noh) thinks the Prime Minister is wrong, he should leave the Government.”
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysia's deputy police minister apologized Wednesday for inflaming a police abuse scandal by apparently defending the stripping of a Chinese woman at a police station, an act made public by a secretly shot video.
Deputy Internal Security Minister Noh Omar said his remarks were misinterpreted. "I openly apologize if the meaning of my comments was received negatively," Noh was quoted as saying by the national news agency, Bernama.
Noh whipped up a storm of protest by saying Tuesday he believed police had not violated procedures in making the Chinese woman strip and perform squats in a lockup. A video of the incident made public last week sparked a national scandal.
"If the foreigners think we are cruel, ask them to go back to their own country. ... For me, it was conducted in accordance with the rules," Noh told reporters in Parliament on Tuesday, according to local media.
On Wednesday, Noh claimed he didn't say it.
"I said that if our country isn't peaceful or if the police are as cruel as what is being claimed about them nowadays, then how could it be that many foreigners live in our country," Noh said.
Earlier Wednesday, Lim Kit Siang, the top opposition leader in Parliament, urged Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to suspend Noh. The Malay Mail newspaper said Noh had "lost his cool after repeated badgering" by journalists over the issue.
It was not clear whether the woman in the video is a Chinese citizen or an ethnic Chinese Malaysian, but the incident has bolstered long-standing claims by human rights activists that detainees are routinely mistreated in police custody. It has also raised concerns that police unfairly target Chinese.
Ethnic Chinese comprise about a quarter of Malaysia's 25 million people, while the majority are ethnic Malays.
The whereabouts of the woman in the video -- shot surreptitiously using a camera-phone by an unknown person -- were not known. The video was delivered to Teresa Kok, another opposition lawmaker, last week, who went public with it.
Also Wednesday, police interviewed three Chinese women -- none of whom was in the video -- who claimed they were forced to strip in an open area and perform squats while being held in a Kuala Lumpur police station for allegedly having fake passports.
One of them claimed a policewoman slapped her and grabbed her breasts, while another accused a male officer of making lewd remarks, said their lawyer, Sankara Nair.
He said they plan to sue the police for wrongful detention and mistreatment.
Two of the women are married to Malaysians, while the other is a secretarial student living in Malaysia. All were arrested Nov. 3 before being released without charge four days later. - AP.
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