Kuala Lumpur: Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said he would not resign over the alleged rape case in Penang involving three police officers.
"We have already ensured that they are brought to court. What else can we do? This is our country's system," he said during a press conference today.
He was asked to comment on calls for him take responsibility for the issue by tendering his resignation.
Hishammuddin (left) was also evasive when asked whether it is high time to set up the long overdue Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).
"IPCMC? There is no single formula that would solve all our problems.
"I think what is important now is that we are transparent in ensuring that those who are in the wrong are brought to face justice and given punishment that is proportionate to the crime.
"Such cases should not be the monopoly of certain parties, (whether) the police or government agencies," he said.
When asked if this means the IPCMC is not necessary, the home minister again ducked the question.
Instead, he said he was following the developments of the rape case "closely and personally" and has already instructed the police to bring any such cases to court, instead of attempting to hide it.
"If there is any matter that needs to be raised, bring it to court so that the public would know that such actions - if convicted - are despicable and unforgivable," he said.
Outrage in Indonesia
When asked whether he would brief Indonesia on the rape issue, Hishammuddin said such allegations are a challenge to bilateral relations and hopes that bringing the police officers to court would help ease tensions.
Yesterday, policemen, corporal Nik Sin Mat Lazim, constable Syahiran Romly and constable Remmy Anak Dana were charged at a Sessions Court with rape and forced oral sex of an Indonesian restaurant worker.
The alleged offences were committed on Nov 9 at a police station in Prai.
The incident stirred up outrage both at home as well as in Indonesia, where NGO Migrant Care has accused the Malaysian authorities of not being serious in handling the case.
The IPCMC was a key recommendation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry report in 2005, which also slammed the police force as being corrupt and abusive.
In January 2006, former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that the IPCMC would be set up "soon".
However the idea - one of 125 listedin the report - was shot down after strong objection from the very body the IPCMC aimed to monitor, the police, led by then inspector-general of police Mohd Bakri Omar.
As a result a watered-down Special Complaints Commission was implemented instead.
No decision yet to bar Scorpene lawyers
Separately, Hishammuddin was also asked whether French lawyers William Bourdon and Joseph Breham would be barred from entering Malaysia.
He said the Immigration Department and the police have yet to provide him with the latest update on the matter.
"However, I have asked for a detailed report and if there are objection, there should be strong reasons for it.
"Therefore I leave it to the relevant agencies and authorities, based on existing precedents. I ask all parties that no matter what the decision, don't politicise this."
The two lawyers are due to arrive on Wednesday to brief lawmakers on the Scorpene judicial inquiry in France on Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's invitation.
Bourdon's (above) trip to Malaysia last year resulted in him being unceremoniously deported, supposedly for breaching his visa conditions.--Courtesy of Malaysiakini